Several plant extracts inhibit male and female fertility and may be developed into contraceptives. Cassia arereh Del. is a small tree widely spread and used in Nigeria for various purposes. This plant species is employed to restore the fertility among women. This study aimed to investigate the pharmacognostic, phytochemical profiles and the antifertility activity of the leaves of Cassia arereh. The pharmacognostic and phytochemical aspects were analyzed using standard methods. The antifertility activity in proven fertile female albino rats at doses 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg were determined using antiimplantation and assessment of estrogenic or anti-estrogenic activity. Macroscopically, the leaves are bright green, slightly bitter with pungent odor. Its shape is ovate with an acute apex, an entire margin, and a coarse texture. The microscopy of the leaves powder revealed the presence of anomocytic stomata, epidermal layers, fibres and parenchymatous cells. Chemomicroscopy also revealed the presence of tannins, starch, oils, proteins, calcium oxalate. The phytochemical screening indicated the presence of alkaloids, flavonoids, anthraquinones, carbohydrates, tannins and terpenes. Quantitative parameters like total ash, acid insoluble ash, water soluble ash values were 6.13 %, 0.55 % and 4.41 % respectively. The moisture content was 5.56 % while the extractive values for alcohol and water were 5.68 % and 4.38 % respectively. Extract effect on implantation in animals on day 1-5 of pregnancy resulted in a decline in the fertility index, numbers of uterine implants, uterine weight and live fetuses confirmed by laparotomy on day 15 of pregnancy. The extract (100 mg/kg) exhibited weak estrogenic activity when given alone and tested in immature bilaterally ovariectomized rats, but exhibited slight anti-estrogenic activity when administered along with estradiol valerate (0.1 mg/kg). These results indicated that the ethanol extract of Cassia arereh leaves has secondary metabolites with pregnancy terminating effect in rats.
Keywords: Cassia arereh leaves extracts, Pharmacognostic aspects, phytochemical screening, antifertility properties.