Nutmeg toxicity: Ameliorative effect of aqueous extract of Guiera senegalensis in experimental rat model
Meristic fragrans seeds (also known as nutmeg seed) are commonly used as a spice in various delicacies, as components of teas and soft drinks or mixed in milk and alcohol. The bulk of the spice contains carbohydrates, protein and mineral. The spice possesses phytochemicals which are responsible for its flavoring, coloring, preservative and health-promoting characteristics. The aim of the research was to investigate the ameliorating effect of aqueous extract of G. senegalensis against nutmeg toxicity in rat model. The phytochemical content was estimated by either gravimetric or spectrophotometric method, the antioxidant potential was estimated by 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazine (DPPH) assay while the biochemical indices were determined by standard protocols. The phytochemical evaluation of G. senegalensis extract (GsE) and M. fragrans extract (MfE) showed high flavonoid content while the saponin content was relatively low. The free radical scavenging activity using 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazine (DPPH) assay showed that G. senegalensis extract exhibited stronger antioxidant property compared to M. fragrans extract. Nutmeg control group showed increase levels in renal and hepatic function indices but were significantly decreased (p<0.05) in the groups treated with 200 mg/kg body weight and 400 mg/kg body weight of aqueous extract of G. senegalensis. The MDA level was significantly elevated in the nutmeg group, however, it significantly reduced in the treated groups. It can be concluded that the strong antioxidant potential exhibited by G. senegalensis may have been responsible for its ameliorative effect against nutmeg-induced toxicity. Since high dietary and long term consumption of nutmeg may have adverse effect on both kidney and liver organs respectively, recommendation on its use in moderation is advisable.
Keywords: Phytochemical compounds, 2, 2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazine (DPPH), Toxicity, Biochemical Indices, Nutmeg seed.