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J Ethnopharmacol. 2006 Jan 16;103(2):246-51. Epub 2005 Oct 10.

Argentine folk medicine: genotoxic effects of Chenopodiaceae family.

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CIGETOX-Citogenética y Genética Toxicológica, Departamento de Bioquímica Clínica, Facultad de Farmacia y Bioquímica, Universidad de Buenos Aires, A. del Valle 970, 1878-Quilmes, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Chenopodium ambrosioides L. and Chenopodium multifidum L. (Chenopodiaceae), common name: Paico, are medicinal plants. They are aromatic shrubs growing in South America. For centuries, they have been used due to its medicinal properties. However, there are few reports in literature about the genotoxic effects of these plants. There for, the aim of these work is the evaluation of genetic damage induced by decoction and infusion of this plants which were assayed in different concentrations (1, 10, 100, 1,000 microL extract/mL culture), by addition of the extract to human lymphocyte cell cultures, negative controls were included. The endpoints evaluated were chromosomal aberrations (CA), sister chromatid exchanges (SCE), cell proliferation kinetics (CPK) and mitotic index (MI). The repeated measure analysis of variance was used for statistic evaluation of the results. The results showed: (a) statistical increase in the percentage of cells with CA and in the frequency of SCE when cultures were exposed to both aromatic plants, (b) a decrease in MI of both Paicos assayed, although no modification in the CPK values was observed, (c) no effect was noticed in the analysis of Chenopodium album L., which was used as negative control of the essential oil. These results suggest a cyto and genotoxic effect of Chenopodium ambrosioides and Chenopodium multifidum aqueous extracts related to the essential oil of the plant (as Chenopodium album did not perform).

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