SO Oyedemi, G Bradley, AJ Afolayan

Journal of Natural Pharmaceuticals 2010 1(1):33-39

Background: Strychnos henningsii Gilg is widely used in South African traditional medicine for the treatment of various ailments. However, no safety studies have been conducted on its toxicological profile. Materials and Methods: The effect of the oral administration of the aqueous bark extract of this plant at 250, 500 and 1000 mg/kg was investigated on the hematological and biochemical parameters in Wistar rats for 28 days. Results: Treatment with the plant extract did not significantly (P > 0.05) alter the levels of hemoglobin, red blood cell, hematocrit, mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, large unstained cell and organs body weight ratio of the kidneys, livers, lungs and hearts. Also, the levels of eosinophils, total bilirubin, total protein, albumin, urea, creatinine, glucose, sodium as well as calcium were not significantly different from the control. Meanwhile, the concentrations of platelets, monocytes, basophils and white blood cells significantly decreased while those of the mean corpuscular hemoglobin, alanine and aspartate aminotransferases were increased. Moreover, the levels of conjugated bilirubin and mean corpuscular volume were effectively increased at specific doses. The levels of cholesterol and triglycerides as well as chlorine were remarkably decreased at the highest dose. Conclusion: The results obtained from this study suggest that sub-acute administration of S. henningsii extract may not be completely safe as oral remedy due to the impairment observed in the normal functioning of white blood cells.