Background: This study was conducted to investigate toxicological effects associated with prolonged consumption of Moringa oleifera leaves as a beverage.
Methods: Thirty rats were used in this study. They were grouped into five groups of six rats. Rats in group I received 2 mL/kg body weight (b.w.) of corn oil (vehicle). Animals in groups II, III, IV and V received 50, 100, 200 and 400 mg/kg b.w. of methanolic extract of M. oleifera (MEMO) for 8 weeks. Serum collected was analyzed for alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), total protein, albumin, globulin, blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine.
Results: There was a significant (p<0.05) increase in serum total protein and globulin in a dose-dependent manner. Rats that received MEMO at 200 and 400 mg/kg b.w. showed a significant (p<0.05) increase in serum ALT, AST, BUN and creatinine which pointed to hepatic and kidney damage. All experimental animals that received MEMO had a significant (p<0.05) increase in body weight in a dose-dependent manner.
Conclusions: This study therefore confirms for the first time that chronic administration of M. oleifera leaves might predispose to hepatic and kidney damage.