Toxicological evaluation of the stem bark of Burkea africana hook. (Caesalpiniaceae) in wistar rats
Burkea africana Hook. (Caesalpiniaceae) is used traditionally to treat ulcers, headaches, skin disease and tumors. The study investigated the acute, sub-acute and chronic toxicity profiles of the ethanolic extract of Burkea africana stem bark. Rats of either sexes were used in this study (n=10). For acute toxicity, a single dose of 5,000 mg/kg was administered while for the sub-acute and chronic toxicity study, three doses (40, 200 and 1000 mg/kg) of the extract were administered orally for 28 and 90 days respectively. At the end of each study, the biochemical, hematological and histological parameters were evaluated. No mortality or behavioral changes were observed in the acute toxicity study. Extract caused significant changes in the hematological parameters after the sub-acute toxicity study. In the chronic toxicity study, the extract caused significant increase in the white blood cell count of the 200 mg/kg group. There was significant increase in the platelet count of treated groups compared to control in the sub-acute and chronic toxicity studies, with an observed total mortality of all the animals in the 1000 mg/kg group on the 44th day. No adverse pathology was observed in the organs examined. The extract elicited a hematological response and short term consumption of the extract at low doses might be relatively safe. However, long term consumption at high doses should be discouraged.