Androgen disruption and toxicity tests of Butea superba Roxb., a traditional herb used for treatment of erectile dysfunction, in male rats

Maturitas. 2008 Jun 20;60(2):131-7. doi: 10.1016/j.maturitas.2008.04.011. Epub 2008 Jun 12.


Objective: To evaluate the effects of the tuberous powder of Butea superba Roxb. (Leguminosae) on blood testosterone and luteinizing hormone (LH), and toxicity in male rats.

Methods: Adult male Wistar rats were orally treated with 0, 10, 100, 150 or 200 mg/kg BW/day of B. superba powder suspension in 0.7 ml distilled water for 90 consecutive days. Blood samples were collected every 30 days and submitted to testosterone and LH analysis. On the 90th day of treatment, blood and the main organs were collected for haematological and histopathological analysis, respectively.

Results: The adverse effects found included an increase in spleen relative weight, and increased serum level of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) in rats treated with 150 mg/kg BW/day B. superba powder. At 200 mg/kg BW/day treatment, rats showed significant decreased and increased blood levels of neutrophil and eosinophil, respectively, and a decrease in serum creatinine levels. Serum hormonal analysis revealed a dose-dependent decrease in testosterone, but not LH, in rats treated with 150 and 200 mg/kg BW/day B. superba powder.

Conclusion: Subchronic treatment of B. superba tuberous powder suspension at high doses in male rats exhibited adverse effects to blood chemistry, haematology, and blood testosterone level. The results of the study should initiate awareness of the possible adverse risk of over-dose consumption of B. superba products for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) in mature males.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Butea / toxicity*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Erectile Dysfunction / blood
  • Erectile Dysfunction / drug therapy*
  • Luteinizing Hormone / blood*
  • Male
  • Phytotherapy / adverse effects*
  • Plant Preparations / adverse effects*
  • Plant Tubers / adverse effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Testosterone / blood*


  • Plant Preparations
  • Testosterone
  • Luteinizing Hormone