Acute toxicity studies of Catharanthus roseus aqueous extract in male Wistar rats

Zelipha N Kabubii, James M Mbaria, Mathiu Mbaabu


Background: The knowledge of the healing virtues of Catharanthus roseus and a host of other medicinal plants has been in existence since ancient times. Catharanthus roseus is traditionally used more commonly as anti-diabetic and anti-malaria remedy. Lack of adequate pharmacological and toxicological data of natural products to support their use is a major setback.

Objective: To establish the acute toxicity effect of Catharanthus roseus crude aqueous extract on some hematological and biochemical parameters.

Methodology: Catharanthus roseus aqueous extract was orally administered once to two groups of male rats at 1000 and 5000 mg/kg body weight respectively alongside a control group which received 2ml distilled water. Hematological and biochemical assays were done at 48 hours and the 14th day. The data was analyzed using SPSS 17.0.

Results: White blood cells (WBC), creatinine, urea, alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase showed significant increase while mean cell volume reduced significantly at 48 hours in the high dose group. The body weight change was also significantly reduced.

Discussion: The alterations of the body weight gain, various biochemical and hematological parameters reflect the effect of toxicity after exposure of the tested extract doses. Total proteins concentration was not altered suggesting that the renal and liver functions were not adversely affected.

Key words: Catharanthus roseus, acute toxicity, rats

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