Chapter One 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.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The major objective of the study is the morphometric study of the teratogenic effect of aqueous extract of Aspilia Africana on wistar rats.

1.4 Research Questions

(1) what is Aspilia Africana?

(2) what are its economic importance?

(3) what are its shortcomings?

(4) why the need to conduct a study of the teratogenic effect of aqueous extract of Aspilia africana?

1.5 Significance of the Study

In order to have a standard natural plant products, preliminary studies such as morphometric study of the teratogenic effect of aqueous extract of Aspilia Africans on wistar rat have to be done in order to evaluate possible risks such as undesirable effects, overdose or poisoning. The findings of this research will serve as a preliminary study to help establish the possible effect it will have on man.

1.6 Scope of the Study

This research focuses on the Morphometric study of the teratogenic effect of aqueous extract of Aspilia Africans on wistar rat.


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Duraipandiyan, V.M. Auyanar and S.Ignacimuthu,2006. Antimicrobial activity of some ethomedicinal plants used by paliyar tribe from Tamil Nadu, India. BMC Complement. Altern.Med., 6:35.

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Sandhu, D.S. and M. Heinrich, 2005. The use of health foods, spices and other botanicals in the Sikh community in London. Phytotherapy Res., 19:633-642

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Taziebou, L.C., F.X. Etoa, B. Nkegoum, C.A. pieme and D.P.D. Dzeufiet, 2007. Acute and subacute toxicity of Aspilia Africana leaves. Africa.J. Traditional Complementary Alternative Med., 4:127-134

Waako, P.J., P. Smith and P.I. Folb, 2005. In vitro interactions of Aspilia Africana, a traditional antimalaria medicinal plant, with Artemis in against Plasmodium falciparum J. Ethnopharmacol., 102:262-268

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