A MORPHOMETRIC STUDY OF THE TERATOGENIC EFFECT OF AQEOUS WISTAR RAT
1.1 Background to the Study
The population of developing countries worldwide continue to rely heavily on the use of traditional medicines as their primary source of healthcare. Ethnobotanical studies carried out throughout Africa confirm that native plants are the main constituent of traditional African medicines (Sandhu and Heinrich,2005; Gupta et al., 2005). With 70-80% of Africa’s population relying on traditional medicines, the importance of the role of medicinal plants in the health care system is enormous (Mander and Breton,2006). Medicinal plants are now being given serious attention, as is evidenced by the recommendation given by the World Health Organization in 1970 (Wondergem et al., 1989) that proven traditional remedies should be incorporated within national drug policies, by recent moves towards a greater professionalism within African medicine (Last and Chavunduka, 1986) and also by the increased commercialization of pharmaceutical production using traditional medicinal plants with known efficacy ?Sofowora, 1981).
In Nigeria, many indigenous plants are used in herbal medicine to cure diseases and heal injuries. Aspilia afticana is not an exception. It is a perennial herb which belongs to the Asteraceae family. It has been classified among substances with low toxicity with an LD 50 averaging 6.6g/kgb.at (Taziebou et al.,2007). Traditional African medicinal uses includes its ability to stop bleeding fresh wounds (Okoli et al.,2007). It has anti-malaria (Woako et al., 2005) and anti viral (Chepkwony et al., 2007) properties. The juice of the leaves is reported to be hemostatic and Vasco constrictive (Achonye,1976). The decoction if the root is a remedy for lumbago and sciatica neuralgia (Watt and Breyer- Brandwijk,1962).
The plant Aspilia African a enjoys a folk reputation in Africa for its ability to stop bleeding even from severed artery as well as promote rapid healing wounds and sores and for the management of problems related to cardiovascular diseases. The decoction of the leaves is used to wash face to relieve febrile headaches. The infusion of the leaves is given as tonic to women after delivery. The leaf juice with little salt and lime juice is applied to eyes for corneal opacities and other foreign bodies in the eyes. Phytochemical studies revealed the presence of saponins and tannins as the most abundant compounds in the plants while flavonoids were the least (Obadoni and Ochuko,1998).
1.2 Problem Statement
Natural products have been and have remained, the cornerstone of healthcare. Present estimates show that 80% of the world’s population still rely on traditional medicine for their health care needs (Duraipandiyan et al.,2006). In order to have standard natural plant products, preliminary studies have to be done in order to evaluate possible risks such as undesirable effects, overdose or poisoning.