African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines

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Cytotoxicity of selected medicinal plants used in Mt. Frere District, South Africa

D Mnengi, A Kappo, L Kambizi, M Nakin


Background: In South African traditional medicine, some are plants known to combat pediatric diseases and are commonly used by traditional
healers. The aim was to evaluate cytotoxicity effects of plants.
Materials and methods: The ground plant material was exhaustively  extracted using methanol, acetone and water separately for 72 hrs. These
organic solvents were removed from filtrates using a rotavapour. Stock  solutions were prepared at 40 mg/ml Dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and test
solutions were transferred into vials and 10 brine shrimps introduced in  each. The number of dead shrimps was counted to ascertain toxicity. Ten A. salina nauplii (larva) were transferred into each sample vial and filtered brine solution was added to make 5 ml. The nauplii were counted macroscopically in the stem of the pipette against a lighted background. A drop of dry yeast suspension was added as food to each vial. Probit  analysis was used to determine the concentration at which lethality to brine shrimp represents 50 % (LC50).
Results: All the tested extracts showed that the concentration is directly proportional to death of brine shrimps. Fifty percent lethality (LC50) of the
tested crude extract ranged between 4.1 and 4.6 µg/ml with methanol  extract of B. abyssinica being the lowest and T. acutiloba the highest.
Conclusion: This study revealed that 100% of plant crude extracts screened for activity against Artemisia salina larvae showed strong cytotoxicity
below 10 µg/ml and plant species with LC50 values < 1000 µg/ml may not make good paediatric remedies due to their inherent toxicity.
Key words: Medicinal plants, traditional pediatrics, cytotoxicity

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