Author: Umeh Victoria Nonyelum
Department: Pharmacy and Toxicology
Affiliation: Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka

The leaf of Ficus exasperata Vahl Enum (Moraceae) is used in various parts of Nigeria and some parts of Africa for the treatment of various pathological states including cutaneous wounds. The present study was undertaken to justify the use of the aqueous extract of the leaf of Ficus exasperata for the treatment of cutaneous wounds and to evaluate the effect of its prolonged oral administration. Shade-dried leaves of Ficus exasperata were grounded, extracted using cold maceration method and freeze-dried to a constant weight. The acute and sub-chronic toxicity studies of the crude extract were carried out in rats. The water extract was fractionated with n-hexene, methanol, ethyl acetate and chloroform. The anti-microbial, qualitative phytochemistry as well as the wound-healing effect of the water extract and fractions was studied. For the acute toxicity, no death was recorded up to 5000mg/kg.There were a significant increase(p ˂0 .05) in ALT and AST on days 61 and 91 (4000 mg/kg group). There was significant increase (p ˂0.05) in serum ALP on day 31 (4000 mg/kg) and on days 61 and 91(1000, 2000 and 4000 mg/kg). Hematological analysis revealed no significant changes (p˃0.05) in PCV, RBC and HB value in all the groups. Significant decrease (p˂0.05) in the WBC occurred in groups 1000, 2000 and 2000 mg/kg on day 91. Histopathological data revealed extensive damage in the kidney architecture with pronounced loss of glomeruli in 4000 mg/kg group. There was hemorrhage within the central vein of the liver for 4000 mg/kg group. A significant wound contraction (p˂0.05) was observed in 5, 15, 20, and 25%w/w and the positive control groups on the 4th, 8th, 12th and 16th days of the treatment. Of all the fractions tested, significant contraction (p<0.05) was only noticed in chloroform fraction though lower than that of the aqueous extract. The phytochemical analysis of the extract revealed the presence of alkaloid, saponins, flavonoids, glycosides, tanins, phlobatannins, terpenoids, fats and oil. The extract exhibited a concentration-dependent inhibition against the tested micro-organisms with minimum inhibitory concentration ranging from 10 to 250 mg/ml of the extract. In conclusion, the present study justified the use of the leaf extract of F. exasperata in the treatment of cutaneous wounds. However, prolonged oral ingestion of the extract can adversely affect the liver and the kidney.

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