Acute and sub-chronic oral toxicity profiles of the aqueous extract of Polygala fruticosa in female mice and rats

James T Mukinda, Peter F K Eagles
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2010 March 2, 128 (1): 236-40
Polygala fruticosa (P.J. Bergius) is one of the most popular medicinal plants in South Africa but to date there is no documented evidence corroborating its safety. This study thus aimed to determine the toxicity profile of the aqueous extract of Polygala fruticosa by determining its effects after acute and sub-chronic oral administration in female mice and rats, respectively. In adult mice, single oral administrations of the aqueous extract of Polygala fruticosa (2-20 g/kg body weight) induced an increase in the incidence of general behavioural adverse effects. The mortality rate also increases with increasing dosage (LD(50)=10.8 g/kg). In rats, daily single oral doses of Polygala fruticosa aqueous extract (0.1 and 1g/kg) were well tolerated behaviourally after 31 days of dosing (LD(50) much higher than 1g/kg) and induced no significant changes in body and organs weights. However, haematological and biochemical parameters showed a significant decrease in platelet count and significant increases in ALT, AST and creatinine levels suggesting disturbances of haemopoiesis, liver and kidney functions. Overall, the findings of this study indicate that Polygala fruticosa is non-toxic and has, at low dose, a low toxicity potential in acute and chronic oral administrations, respectively. However, at high chronic oral doses, Polygala fruticosa has significant anti-haemopoietic, hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic activities.

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