Psychotria microphyilla is a significant plant species, which is being used in herbal medicine to control infections of the female reproductive system, bronchitis, gastrointestinal disturbances, skin infections, tumors as well as ulcers1. Some species of Psychotria are reported to have toxic effects. For instance, fruits and seeds of P. cuspidate as well as the leaves of P. involucrate possess poisonous properties and are utilized as fish poison, whereas the fruits of P. poeppigana are employed to eradicate rats. Moreover, P. camptopus bark in combination with rhizomes of longisetosa is consumed orally for curing nerves as well as partial paralysis in case of Cameron2. However, scientists also found activities such as anti-inflammatory, analgesic activity3, antibiotic activity4, and antiviral activity in P. serpens 5.
Psychotria microphylla Elmer is one of the Psychotria species and infusion of the whole plant is used for fishing and to restrain insects from damaging farm crops. Furthermore, it also exhibited certain useful compounds like alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins and cardiac glycosides6, whereas the piscicidal activity of Psychotria microphylla was also reported as well7. Despite of the common perception, that it is not poisonous for humans, strict scientific analysis are suggested before consumption because it probably consists of some harmful elements secondary metabolites having unfavorable side effects such as mutagenic potentials. Currently, scientific literature is unavailable about the toxicity of this plant on rats.
Therefore, O.U. Orji, C.J. Chukwu, U.A. Ibiam and U.C. Okorie8 conducted a research to assess the safety of P. microphylla leaves extract in wistar albino rats. For this purpose, scientists applied Lorke method to evaluate acute toxicity by using 14 rats. In the sub-acute phase, 25 albino rats were randomly divided into 5 groups (A-E) having 5 rats each. Group A served as control and received 0.5 mL normal saline, Groups B, C, D and E received 300, 500, 1000 and 2000 mg kg–1 b.wt., respectively for 21 days orally. Afterwards, research team examined the outcomes through SPSS for windows version 20.
The results of this investigation were surprising because aqueous extract of P. microphylla did not cause any death in treated rats. On the other hand, this extract decreased the triacylglycerols considerably; which confirm its effectiveness to control lipid associated diseases including obesity, diabetes as well as cardiovascular dysfunctions. Conclusively, profile regarding toxicity of P. microphylla leaf extract has the potential to be used as for botanical piscicide in future.
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17 November, 2019