Many rural and poor women have now resorted to use of potential medicinal plants as a means of fertility control. Asparagus africanus Lam and Annona senegalensis Pers are some of the plants used for this purpose. The efficacy and safety of many of such plants, however, have not been verified. Therefore, screening for anti-fertility activity of potential medicinal plants, would thus provide alternative safe and affordable contraceptive, if effective and less toxic. This study aims to carry out phytochemical screening, acute toxic effects and antifertility activity in female rats of the aqueous extracts of A. africanus Lam and A. senegalensis Pers combination. Acute toxicity test was done according to Lorke’s methods and antifertility activity of the extracts by use of the method described by Khanna and Chaudhary, with modification for our local use. The percentage inhibition of conception of the extract was compared with those of the controls. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of known anti-fertility principles such as saponins, alkaloids and phenolic compounds. Acute toxicity studies indicated that the extract was non-toxic up to the highest dose of 12.8 g and the antifertility activity of the aqueous crude extract was found to be dose dependent. This study therefore demonstrated that the aqueous root extract of A. africanus Lam and A. senegalensis Pers combination has antifertility activity and is safe at the doses employed in this study.
Key words: Anti-fertility, rats, phytochemical screening, acute toxicity, Asparagus africanus, Annona senegalensis.
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