Comparative Clinical Pathology

, Volume 29, Issue 1, pp 267–274 | Cite as

Phytochemical screening and toxicity study of aqueous-methanol extract of Ziziphus spina-christi seeds in Wistar albino rats

  • T. A. OwolarafeEmail author
  • A. K. Salau
  • K. Salawu
Original Article


Ziziphus spina-christi has been studied for various bioactivities but reports of its toxicity remain scanty. This study investigated the phytochemical content and toxicity of aqueous-methanol extract of Z. spina-christi seeds on hepatic and renal tissues of Wistar rats. The extract was screened for the presence of phytochemicals and orally administered to rats at 200, 600 and 1000 mg/kg bwt for 2 weeks. Haematological parameters and markers of the liver and kidney functions were evaluated as well as histoarchitecture. Tannins, saponins, alkaloids, flavonoids, phenols and glycosides were detected in the extract which significantly (P < 0.05) reduced levels of white blood cells, neutrophils, serum aspartate aminotransferase, Cl, urea and creatinine. The extract also induced significant (P < 0.05) elevations in the levels of lymphocytes, platelets, direct and total bilirubin, albumin, alanine aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, aspartate aminotransferase, serum Ca2+, creatinine, urea and organ-body weight ratios. The levels of red blood cells, haemoglobin, packed cell volume, mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration, mean corpuscular volume, white blood cells, lymphocytes and neutrophils at 1000 mg/kg bwt, platelets at 200 mg/kg bwt, total protein, alkaline phosphatase at 200 mg/kg bwt, Na+ and K+ at all doses, as well as Ca2+ at 600 and 1000 mg/kg bwt were not significantly (P > 0.05) affected. The extract caused hepatic vascular congestion and fibrosis at 600 and 1000 mg/kg bwt with no visible histoarchitectural effect on the kidney. The extract therefore possesses hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic activities. Care must be taken in the consumption of this plant for folklore medicine.


Ziziphus spina-christi Seeds Hepatotoxicity Nephrotoxicity Haematology 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Toxicology and Phytomedicine Research Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry and Forensic ScienceNigeria Police AcademyWudilNigeria
  2. 2.Antioxidants, Toxicology and Phytomedicine Research Laboratory, Biochemistry and Nutrition Unit, Department of Chemical SciencesFountain UniversityOsogboNigeria

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