Teratogenic effect of the water extract of bitter gourd (Momordica charantia) on the sprague dawley rats
It has been reported that the water extract of the whole unripe fruit of Momordica charantia can significantly reduce blood glucose levels. However the safety of its use during pregnancy has not been fully investigated. The aim of this investigation is to determine the safety of this extract during pregnancy. The water extract of the unripe fruit was given to pregnant Sprague Dawley rats on days 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 and 14 of gestation. The litter size was determined for each group and the litters were examined for gross malformations. The gross and histological examinations of various organs of the litters were also carried out. Results show that 8.65% of the litters from experimental animals were malformed as against 1.62% of control. It also showed that 31.2% of all the malformed litters had multiple congenital malformations. It also showed that the experimental rats had nine resorption sites while control had none. This demonstrates that the water extract of Momordica charantia is teratogenic in Sprague Dawley rats and should be used with caution in man.
Key words: Momordica charantia teratogenicity
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