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Phytochemical content of Cnidoscolus aconitifolius leaves and toxicological effect of its aqueous leaf extract in Wistar rats

Doris Akachukwu, Polycarp Nnacheta Okafor, Chiedozie O Ibegbulem.

Objective - Recent research on medicinal plants indicates that some plant extract are not only beneficial in the treatment of ailments but could also be toxic. Aqueous extract of Cnidoscolus aconitifolius leaves is consumed for various reasons in traditional medicine. This study considers possible toxicological effects of aqueous leaf extract of C. aconitifolius using biochemical and histological indices of liver and kidney function as well as haematological indices in rats.
Method - In this study, phytochemical screening of C. aconitifolius leaves was carried out. Sub acute toxicity tests were done using twenty (20) male albino rats (4 – 6 weeks old; body weight, 132.20 ± 48.10g). They were grouped into 4 groups of 5 rats each and fed pelletized grower’s mash incorporated 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight of the extract for 28 days. The control group received pelletized grower’s mash and water only. At the end of the feeding period, blood was collected via cardiac puncture for biochemical and haematological examinations. The liver and kidneys were also collected for histological studies and relative organ weights.

Results - Phytochemical analysis of the plant leaves showed mean concentrations (%) of tannins, saponins, cyanogenic glycosides, alkaloids, phenols, flavonoids and steroids at 0.14, 4.04, 0.003, 4.72, 0.19, 2.36, and 0.27, respectively. Incorporation of the aqueous extract into the diets of rats at 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg body weight for 28 days resulted in non-significant (p>0.05) effects on the relative organ weights, total protein, globulin, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase and alkaline phosphatase activities, total and conjugated bilirubin, creatinine, platelet, red blood cell, white blood cell, neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils and basophils concentrations. However, blood monocyte concentrations were significantly decreased (p

Key words: Aqueous leaf extract, Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, oral toxicity, phytochemicals, rat.

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