Journal of
Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy

  • Abbreviation: J. Pharmacognosy Phytother.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2502
  • DOI: 10.5897/JPP
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 223

Full Length Research Paper

Phytochemicals and acute toxicity of Moringa oleifera roots in mice

J. N. Kasolo1*, G. S. Bimenya2, L. Ojok 3 and J. W. Ogwal-okeng4
1Department of Physiology, School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Makererere University, P. O.  Box 7072, Kampala, Uganda.  2Department of Pathology, School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Makererere University,  Kampala, Uganda.  3Department of Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Makererere University, Kampala, Uganda.  4Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Health Sciences,  Makererere University, Kampala, Uganda. 
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 28 April 2011
  •  Published: 30 April 2011


The phytochemicals used by plants to protect themselves against predators in Moringa oleifera roots were 
qualitatively identified in the aqueous and ethanol extracts. Its acute toxicity in 24 h was evaluated in Swiss 
albino mice. M. oleifera, a native plant of the sub-Himalayan tracts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and 
Afghanistan is used in folk medicine. It is claimed to have nutritional, medicinal, socio-economic and
industrial values. Many individuals and families consume the roots for their medicinal properties. Despite 
wide use the roots, the phytochemicals and toxicity profile are not well documented. This study set out to 
determine the phytochemicals and acute toxicity of M. oleifera roots in mice. The roots were harvested 
during dry season and air dried. Serial extractions using ether, ethanol and water were done. The harvested 
phytochemicals were qualitatively identified using standard chemicals procedures. The phytochemicals 
identified were: gallic tannins, catechol tennins, steroids and triterponoids, saponins, anthraquinones, 
alkaloids, and reducing sugars. Acute toxicity was determined by giving a single oral dose to Swiss albino 
mice and observed for 24 h. The LD50 was calculated using the probit tables. The LD50 of ethanol extract 
was 17.8 g/kg and that of aqueous extract was 15.9 g/kg. In conclusion, M. oleifera roots contain protective 
phytochemicals and are relatively non-toxic when given in a single dose. 
Key words: Moringa oleifera roots, phytochemicals, medicinal plant extracts, herbal medicine, acute toxicity, mice