Phytochemical screening and histopathological effects of single acute dose administration of Artemisia annua L. on testes and ovaries of Wistar rats

by P. O. Ajah(1) and M. U. Eteng(2)



Artemisia annua L. is a medicinal plant whose derivatives are used in the treatment of malaria. Phytochemical screening and histopathological effects of single acute intraperitoneal dose of the alcoholic extract of A. annua, were investigated in Wistar rats in this study. Thirty five adult albino Wistar rats (109 – 307 g) of both sexes used for the study were randomly assigned on the basis of weight and litter origin into seven study groups of five rats per group. The control (group A) was administered placebo (2 ml of pure olive oil) while test groups B to G received single graded doses of 0.18, 0.35, 0.52, 0.70, 0.86 and 1.05 g/kg body weight of extract in olive oil vehicle, respectively. Twenty four hours after the single acute dose administration, animals were sacrificed and testes and ovary tissues obtained for histological evaluation using standard methods. Results of phytochemistry of the alcoholic extract assessed by standard methods identified the presence of alkaloids, glycosides (presence of these in A. annua is questionable), flavonoids, reducing compounds and polyphenols present in different concentrations. Histopathological changes showed adverse lesions on the ovary ranging from atretic-degenerating corpus luteum, with loss of connective substance, arrest of ovarian follicle maturation to complete absence of ovarian follicle. No adverse histopathological changes were
observed in the testes. The result suggests arrest of ovulation and a predisposition to infertility (add in
the female animals). The possible roles of phytoestrogenic constituents in the favonoid fraction of the
phytochemicals are discussed.
Key words: Artemisia annua, phytochemistry, histopathology, testes and ovaries.


1 – Institute of Oceanography, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross Rivers, Nigeria.
2 – Department of Biochemistry, University of Calabar, Calabar, Cross Rivers, Nigeria.

Prof Mbeh Eteng

Mbeh Eteng is a Professor of Biochemistry in the Faculty of University of Calabar. He holds a Ph.D from the University of Calabar (2000). He was Dean of Faculty of Basic Medical Science (2012-2016) and Chairman Committee of Deans (2014-2015). Member Governing Board UCTH, Calabar (2018 -till date). Fellow, Institute of Co-operate Administration. His current area of research is on malaria/prostrate hyperplaxia and medicinal plants research and use in management. He has successfully supervised 25 Ph.Ds.
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