Croton heliotropiifolius is an endemic specie in northeast of Brazil. It is renowned for its medicinal properties, larvicidal, insecticidal and cytotoxic activity. This study evaluated the phytochemical screening of ethanolic extract stem bark of C. heliotropiifolius (EECroton) and the toxicological potential in Swiss albino mice. Phytochemical analysis were performed by thin-layer chromatography. The EECroton at 2000 mg/kg (orally) was used for acute toxicity on Swiss albino mice evaluated during a 14-day period. Histomorphometric analysis of liver and renal tissue along with hematological and serum enzyme levels of serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (SGOT), serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (SGPT), creatinine and urea were measured. The phytochemical investigation of EECroton revealed the presence of coumarins, flavonoids triterpenes and absence of alkaloid, saponins and condensed tannins. The EECroton (2000 mg/kg: o.v.) showed moderate toxicity and the results of serum hematological and enzymatic levels were similar in the respective groups. Histopathological and histomorphometric analyzes confirmed a low of level of toxicity, showing organization of the structural units of the cells, nuclei and sinusoidal capillaries of the hepatocytes as well as renal corpuscles without presenting morphological damage to their organs. These data suggest that the presence of phenolic compound in EECroton demonstrate low order of toxicity.
Key words: Croton heliotropiifolius, medicinal plants, phytochemical, acute toxicity, histomorphometric.
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