Ocimum gratissimum (Linn.) has been widely used for food and medicinal purposes. The effect of aqueous leaf extract of O. gratissimum on haematological parameters of albino Wistar rats was studied. Acute toxicity study showed a median lethal dose (LD50) value of 2121.32 mg/kg body weight for intraperitoneal (i. p) route in mice. Twenty rats’ weights ranging between 85 to 115 g were used. The rats were divided into four groups; with group 1 as the control group. Increasing doses (212, 424 and 636mg/kg body weight) of extract were administered orally to the three groups for a period of 21 days. Significant (p<0.001 and p<0.01) increases of WBC in groups II and III and significant (P<0.05) decreases in platelet count and lymphocyte levels were observed. Similarly, a significant (P<0.05) increase in the neutrophil levels was observed. There were no significant changes in red blood cell (RBC), packed cell volume (PCV), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) and mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC). O. gratissimum reduces platelet and lymphocyte counts, while it increases total WBC and neutrophil levels. It is evident from this study that there is need for caution with the consumption or administration of excessive dosage of O. gratissimum.
Key words: Ocimum gratissimum, toxicity, platelet, lymphocyte, neutrophil.
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