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J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Nov 25;150(2):590-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.09.006. Epub 2013 Sep 14.

Acute toxicity, biochemical and haematological study of Aframomum melegueta seed oil in male Wistar albino rats.

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Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, P.M.B. 1017, Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria. Electronic address:



Aframomum melegueta is a popular medicinal plant in Nigeria believed to have many agents acting in different ways to bring about human health benefits. This study aimed to determine the acute toxicity, identify some phytochemicals known to be present in this plant and the possible effects on lipid profile, haematological indices and biomarker of prostate and cardiac dysfunction.


Twenty four Wistar rats (284-326 g) were used in four groups of six animals. Group 1 (control) received normal saline; groups 2, 3 and 4, received intraperitoneal injection of 27.39, 54.77 and 82.16 mg/kg body weight of the extract respectively for 7 days. Haematological and biochemical parameters were measured.


Alkaloids, flavonoids, saponins, tannins, cardiac glycosides, terpenoids and steroids were identified in this plant extract. The LD₅₀ was 273.86 mg/kg body weight. Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) decreased significantly in group 2. Testosterone increased significantly in all the test groups compared to the control. Cardiac troponin I (0 ng/dl) was recorded for the test groups while the control had 1.69 ± 0.12 ng/dl. Lipid profile results showed increase in HDL and decrease in total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol. Haemoglobin (Hb) and Red Blood Cells count (RBC) decreased significantly in group 4. White Blood Cells count (WBC), Mean Cell Volume (MCV), Mean Cell Haemoglobin (MCH) and Mean Cell Haemoglobin Concentration (MCHC) did not change significantly.


Aframomum melegueta seed oil has the potential of ameliorating benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) and cardiac dysfunction as indicated by testosterone, PSA, lipid profile and troponin I levels. The LD₅₀ of 273.86 mg/kg body weight is indicative of mild toxicity. The lower than normal Hb, RBC confirms the possibility of toxicity.


Aframomum melegueta; Haematological indices; Lipid profile; PSA; Testosterone; Troponin I

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