Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3818

Full Length Research Paper

Toxicity studies on Harpagophytum procumbens (Devil's claw) capsules in mice

Naif O. Al-Harbi1, Riyadh M. Al-Ashban2 and Arif H. Shah2*
1Department of Pharmacy, College of Health Sciences, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 2National Laboratory for Drug Analysis, Saudi-FDA, Riyadh Medical Complex, P.O.Box 59082, Riyadh-11525, Saudi Arabia.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 30 August 2011
  •  Published: 10 November 2013


Acute (24 h) and chronic (90 days) oral toxicity studies on Harpagohytum procumbens (Devil’s claw) capsules manufactured by Boiron (France), were carried out. Male and female mice were used as experimental model. Acute dosages were: 0.5, 1.0 and 3 g/kg while chronic dosage was 100 mg/kg per day of the capsule contents. All morphological, biochemical, haematological and spermatogenic changes, in addition to mortality, body weight changes and any change in vital organs were recorded. Histopathological investigations were done on vital organs. During acute toxicity experiment, mice treated with higher dose were found to have reduced locomotor activity as compared to the control animals. Biochemical studies showed reduction in blood glucose level of mice in the treatment groups as compared to the control. During chronic toxicity studies, both male and female mice in the treatment groups gained statistically significant weight which was similar and comparable to respective control groups. The water intake increased in the treatment as well as the control groups. One male animal was found to develop forelimb inflammation and snout alopecia during chronic toxicity studies. All other animals were normal and comparable to the control animals. There was no mortality of statistical significance observed in any group. Biochemical studies revealed a significant decrease in blood sugar levels and uric acid level of Devil’s claw treatment groups. A slight increase in the aspartate aminotransferase (AST) levels was noticed in the treatment groups as compared to the control groups. However, hematological parameters remained comparable to the control. At the end of the treatment, the visceral condition and the vital organs of animals were found to be normal and comparable to the control. The results were substantiated by histopathological studies. The male treatment group was subjected to sperm abnormality test to assess any mutagenic potential of Devil’s claw prolonged treatment. Devil’s claw capsules treatment group, after chronic treatment, showed no spermatotoxic effect. All the observations recorded revealed that Devil’s claw treatment in the given dose levels, poses low toxicity. The findings of present study might be used in designing future preliminary and preclinical studies on Devil claws capsules.

Key words: Harpagophytum procumbens (Pealiaceae), devil’s claw capsules; acute toxicity, chronic toxicity studies, spermatotoxic effect.