Aflatoxins, a group of closely related, extremely toxic mycotoxins produced by Aspergillus flavus and A. parasiticus, can occur as natural contaminants of foods and feeds. Aflatoxins have been shown to be hepatotoxic, carcinogenic, mutagenic and teratogenic to different animal species. Nigella sativa (black cumin) and Syzygium aromaticum (clove) oil are used for the treatment of inflammatory diseases and have antioxidant properties. The aim of this study was to investigate the ability of these volatile oils to scavenge free radicals generated during aflatoxicosis. Sixty male rats were divided into six treatment groups, including a control group, and the groups were treated for 30 days with Nigella sativa and Syzygium aromaticum oils with or without aflatoxin. Blood samples were collected at the end of the experimental period for haematological and biochemical analysis. The results indicated that exposure to aflatoxins resulted in haematological and biochemical changes typical for aflatoxicosis. Treatment with Nigella sativa and Syzygium aromaticum oil of rats fed an aflatoxin-contaminated diet resulted in significant protection against aflatoxicosis. Moreover, Nigella sativa oil was found to be more effective than Syzygium aromaticum oil in restoring the parameters that were altered by aflatoxin in rats.
Copyright 2005 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd