The pathological changes due to the oral administration of the aqueous extract of the leaves ofCalotropis procera were studied in rats over a period of sixty days. The leaf extract was administered orally to rats in three groups receiving doses of 500, 1000 and 1500 mg/kg. The fourth group served as a control and received distilled water only. Result showed that, oral administration of the aqueous extract of C. procera leaves did not produce any sign of toxicity/mortality in rats up to 5000 mg/kg. The extract did not result in any significant (P < 0.05) change in the level of Na+, K+, Cl-, HCO32-, Alanine transaminase (ALT), Aspartate transaminase (AST), Alkaline phosphatase (ALP), total protein, direct bilirubin, albumin, and globulin in the serum, when compared with that of the control group. Furthermore, the results indicated significant increase (P < 0.05) in the levels of red blood cells, platelets, hemoglobin and hematocrit in the treated groups compared with the control, but there was no significant change in the levels of other hematological parameters analyzed. Histopathological analysis of sections of the liver, kidney and the heart tissues indicated mild vascular degenerative changes and necroses when compared to that of control group. Preliminary phytochemical screening of the aqueous extract revealed the presence of saponins, steroids, phenolics, alkaloids and flavonoids, while anthraquinones were not detected. The result of the present study explains the continual usage of C. procera for therapeutic purposes, as it showed no much potential toxic effect throughout the study period.
Key words: Calotropis procera, toxicology, hematological, biochemical parameters.
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