Alexandria Journal of Medicine

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Toxicities of selected medicinal plants and floras of lower phyla

P.U. Amadi, E.N. Agomuo, A.I. Bob-Chile Agada, U.C. Njoku, M.O. Ifeanacho, J.C. Okereke, C.U. Iheka, J.O. Osuoha


The aim of this study was to evaluate the toxic effects associated with the administration of aqueous extracts (AE) of Calliandra portoricensis (CP), Dracaena arborea (DA), Duranta repens (DR), Polytrichum juniperinum (PJ), Parmelia caperata (PC), and Nostartium officinale (NO) on Wistar rats. LD50 for each plant was obtained prior to administration. Seven groups of six rats each were orally gavaged for 28 days as follows; group 1–7 received normal rat pellets and saline, in addition, group 2 received 20 mg/kg b.w CP, group 3 & 4 respectively received 8 mg/kg b.w DA and DR, group 5 & 6 respectively received 4 mg/ kg b.w PJ and PC, and group 7 received 100 mg/kg b.w NO. Liver enzymes; ALP, ALT, AST and GGT were significantly (p < 0.05) elevated by CP, DR, PJ and PC extracts. All the extracts caused significant alterations of the total protein, albumin and globulin levels. The urea levels were deranged by all the extracts while CP, PJ, PC, and NO extracts caused no significant effects on the creatinine levels. Both DR and NO deranged the serum electrolytes; Na, K, Cl, and HCO3. Results for the lipid profile showed that all extracts significantly altered the phosphatidate phosphohydrolase and LDL levels while no significant effects were observed in the VLDL, TG, TC, HDL, cardiac risk ratio, arterogenic coefficients, and arterogenic index of plasma, of NO treated rats. For hematological parameters DR, PJ, and PC significantly deranged the RBC, HGB, MCHC, MCV, and MCH concentrations while the neutrophils, eosinophils and basophils were significantly altered on administration of all the extracts. No significant effects were observed on the platelets and plateletcrit level in rats gavaged with CP, whereas the MPV, PDW, and PCT concentrations were
deranged by DR extracts. CP and NO caused no alterations in the MDA, GSH, and GST levels whereas the SOD, GPx, and xanthine oxidase levels were significantly deranged by all the plant extracts. Only NO treatment produced catalase, glutathione reductase, and xanthine dehydrogenase levels equivalent to the control group. This study has shown various degrees of deleterious effects on biochemical parameters associated with the consumption of these plants, thus raising serious concerns over their continuous applications as local medicaments.

Keywords:  Toxicity, Calliandra portoricensis, Dracaena arborea, Duranta repens Polytrichum juniperinum, Parmelia caperata, Nostartium officinale, Liver, Electrolytes, Phosphaditate phosphohyrolase, Platelets, Xanthine dehydrogenase

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