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Objective: Our objective is to study the toxicity and curative efficacy of different medicinal plants that are candidate for the treatment of tapeworm infections in man.
Methods: Four medicinal plants were tested for their ability to treat Hymenolepis diminuta tapeworm infection in rats. These plants are Amaranthus viridis, Cucurbita maxima, Hagenia abyssinica and Balanites aegyptiaca. Selection of these plants was based on ethnobotanical
information. The evaluation of the efficiency of these medicinal plants was based on the “controlled test design”, modified from Moskey and Harwood10: Following pre-infection screening, and life cycle establishment rats were grouped to six experimental groups for each plant. Stool specimens were collected from all groups, the mean of eggs counts per gram of faeces were counted. The reduction percentage of eggs per gram (EPG) was calculated and time to clear eggs was compared with that of Niclosamide. Niclosamide drug was used in this study as a control treatment14.
Results: There were no signs of toxic effect on the rats due to administration of any of the tested medicinal plants. Amaranthus viridis leavs exhibited a very weak efficacy. It did not reduce eggs in
either water or food significantly as compared to the untreated control group (p> 0.05). The deparasitization activity of this plant (35%) was not significant. Similarly, Balanites aegyptiaca seeds were not effective in treatment of the infection in rats. Egg counts and deparasitization in
food and water, were not significantly (p> 0.05) different from those of the untreated control group. On the other hand, Cucurbita maxima and Hagenia abyssinica seeds were very effective in the treatment of Hymenolepis diminuta infection in rats. Egg reduction (100%) was highly significant (p< 0.01) in food and water as compared to that of the untreated control group of rats (zero%). C. maxima seeds in food deparasitized 80% of the worms, while Hagenia abyssinica deparasitized 100%.
Conclusion: Our conclusion was that Hagenia abyssinica was the most active plant of this group in the treatment of Hymenolepis diminuta infection in rats.