Carica papaya Leaves Might Cause Miscarriage
Asian Research Journal of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, Volume 2, Issue 1,
Background: The use of Carica papaya leaves in folklore medicine for its antimalarial and antidiabetic activities is on the increase globally.
Aim: This was undergone to investigate if C. papaya leaves have the propensity to induce miscarriage during pregnancy.
Methods: Fresh and healthy leaves of C. papaya free from the disease were harvested from the culture garden of the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Moor Plantation, Ibadan. They were dried and extracted using Soxhlet apparatus and ethanol as the solvent. The toxicity test was carried out using the standard method. Thirty each of fertile male and female Wistar rats were taken for this study. After seven days of acclimatization, the female rats were separated into different cages and had estrus synchronization using Diethylstilbestrol dissolved in paraffin oil and administered at the dose of 1 mg/kg body weight. The male rats were then introduced into those each cages for mating process. After getting the confirmation of pregnancy test, the pregnant rats were grouped into the group of four. First group (Group A) was treated with normal saline, other groups (B, C, D) were treated with undiluted leaf extract of C. papaya for 24, 48 and 72 hours respectively. The animals were then observed daily if they littered. In vitro effects of the leaves on isolated rat uteri were determined following the standard method.
Results: Ethanolic leaf extract of C. papaya was safe in rats at the tested oral doses (500–2000 mg/kg). There was no mortality within the study period. In the in vitro experiment, C. papaya leaf extract elicited dose-dependent multiple contractions of the pregnant rat's uterus. 20% of animals treated with C. papaya leaf extract for 24 hours did no litter which suggestive that miscarriage has occurred. In the animals treated for 48 hours, only 60% littered which is also suggestive that miscarriage has occurred in the remaining 40% that did not litter. In the group treated with C. papaya leaf extract for 72 hours, 80% of the animals did not litter.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that papaya leaves contain active agents which could be toxic to the uterus. Thus, care should be taken in its use during pregnancy. However, this does not automatically translate to the same effect in humans; therefore, its effect on pregnant women can be further confirmed.
- Carica papaya
- ethanolic leaf extract.
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