Interest is renewed in herbal medicine since it is believed it has less side effects and is safer. In addition, there has been continued demand to obtain more drugs from plant sources to alleviate various ailments of mankind. This study is aimed at investigating the antimalarial activity in an herbal cocktail and individual plant extracts contained on Plasmodium berghei in infected Wistar rats. Thirty five Wistar rats randomly assigned into seven groups of five were used. The cocktail and individual aqueous extracts of Azadirachta indica, Mangifera indica, Carica papaya, and Citrus limon were orally administered to the infected Wistar rats weighing an average of 200 g at standard doses of 100 mg/kg/day for seven days, with the exception of aqueous leaf extract of A. indica which was administered at a dose of 10 mg/kg/day. The therapeutic effects of the cocktail and the individual extracts against P. berghei were investigated and the effects on the liver were histologically assessed. Biochemical assays for liver markers aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), total protein (TP) and albumin (ALB) were also assessed. The results showed that the cocktail and individual extracts possess antimalarial activity, by reducing the degree of parasitaemia, inducing recovery of hepatic cells and reduction of malaria associated liver pathology. Administration of the extracts did not significantly alter the level of albumin and total protein, no increase was observed in AST activity (P > 0.05). Significant increase was observed in the ALT activities among the rats administered with the cocktail or that which contained extract (P < 0.0001). In conclusion, the cocktail and the individual extracts possess antimalarial activity, thus justifying their usage in traditional medical practice. Extensive studies for validation of various medicinal plants used in treating malaria should be further conducted
Key words: Plasmodium berghei, cocktail, aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, total protein, albumin.
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