The plant Carthamus tinctorius L. (Safflower), a member of the compositae is used as a food additive but also has medicinal applications. To assay its effects during the developmental phase, 80 pregnant mice were randomly divided into one control and three experimental groups (n= 20). The control group received only distilled water, whereas experimental groups were administered 0.7, 1.4, and 2.8 mg/kg/day of methanol extract of C. tinctorius L. from the 6th to 16th day of gestation intraperitoneally (i.p.), respectively. On the 17th day of pregnancy, all of the animals were euthanized and the fetuses were removed and developmental study was performed. C. tinctorius caused decreased fetal body weight, crown rump and tail lengths (p < 0.05) at 1.4 and 2.8 mg/kg/day significantly compare to control group. Skeletal malformations and anomalies included hind limb flexure, exencephally and rhinencephaly were also seen. It was concluded that methanolic extract of C. tinctorius L. has toxic effects during developmental phase on the mice embryo that should be considered when used as a treatment for gynecological disease in pregnant.
Key words: Carthamus tinctorius L., Methanolic extract, developmental toxicity, mice, organogenesis.
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