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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 7403087, 10 pages
Research Article

A 56-Day Oral Toxicity Study of the Aqueous Extract of Rapanea melanophloeos (L.) Mez in Rats

1Department of Public Health, Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya
2Department of Clinical Studies, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya
3School of Pharmacy, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 19676-00202, Nairobi, Kenya
4Department of Veterinary Pathology, Microbiology and Parasitology, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 29053-00625, Nairobi, Kenya

Received 4 August 2016; Revised 7 November 2016; Accepted 1 December 2016

Academic Editor: Victor Kuete

Copyright © 2016 Hesbon Z. Amenya et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Rapanea melanophloeos is a tropical tree that is extensively utilized in African traditional medicine to treat helminthiases, tuberculosis, and heart-water. As with many other medicinal plants, there is insufficient information regarding the safety of therapeutic R. melanophloeos extracts. An aqueous extract of R. melanophloeos stem bark was administered to Sprague Dawley rats at doses of 100 mg/kg, 300 mg/kg, and 1000 mg/kg for 56 days to characterize its potential toxicity after prolonged dosing. Blood samples were obtained fortnightly for serum chemistry and hematology, while organs were collected at the end of the study. The extract caused an increase in organ weight indices of the kidneys and testis at 300 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg. Hematological and biochemical examination revealed a drop in leukocyte counts and the hematocrit at 1000 mg/kg dose level, while there was a general but nondose-related elevation in alkaline phosphatase activity. There were time-associated variations in the hematological and clinical chemistry parameters at days 28, 42, and 56 in all dose levels, but most values remained within physiological limits. No pathological lesions were evident at histopathology after treatment with the extract. Our data shows that the aqueous extract of R. melanophloeos is not likely to be toxic at the doses tested and provides support to its medicinal use.