The side effects commonly encountered with the use of peripheral analgesics/anti-inflammatory agents like non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs currently available have been that of gastrointestinal tract, kidney and liver damage. Quite often, herbal remedies are indicated by herbalists for the management of pains associated with acute medical illnesses and these also exhibit similar side effects. Here the effect of the aqueous stem bark extract of Ziziphus mucronata (plant with demonstrated analgesic activity) on kidney function is investigated to ascertain its safety. The LD50 was determined and based on that three test doses (1000mg /kg, 500mg/kg and 250mg/kg) of the extract were administered orally to three groups of rats (six rats per group) daily for ten days to carry out kidney function test. The control group was administered with distilled water which served as vehicle in preparing the extract. On the 10th day, blood samples were collected and serum separated for the test. Flame photometric method was used for sodium and potassium determinations, jaffe reaction, titration, diacetyl monoxime and titration method for creatinine, bicarbonate, urea and chloride determination respectively.
Results obtained revealed LD50 of the extract to be greater than 5000mg/kg. Also the administration of all test doses showed no significant difference (p> 0.05) between the test and control groups for serum sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, urea and creatinine concentrations. This study has therefore shown to some extent that aqueous stem bark extract of Ziziphus mucronata may not have significant effect on the rat kidney function after ten days daily treatment. However histological studies are needed to authenticate this claim.
Key words: Ziziphus mucronata, rat kidney function, sodium, potassium, chloride, bicarbonate, urea and creatinine.