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Antilipidemic and Antioxidant Properties of Albuca Nigritana

Antilipidemic and Antioxidant Properties of Bulb Extracts of Albuca Nigritana in Albino Wistar Rats


This study was undertaken to investigate the chemical composition, antilipidemic and antioxidant properties of bulb extracts of Albuca nigritana (Ayummuo) on carbon tetrachloride-induced toxicity in albino rats. The phytochemical and proximate composition of deionized water and diethylether extract were determined using standard methods. A total of fifty five (55) adult male rats were randomly placed in eleven groups designated 1-11, each having five rats. Group 1 received distilled water, while groups 2-11 were given a single dose of 2.5 ml/kg body weight carbon tetrachloride intraperitoneally on the fourteen day of administration of extracts. Group 2 received CCl4 only while group 3 was treated with 10 mg/kg body weight of vitamin C. groups 4, 5, 6 and 7 were administered with 200, 400, 600 and 800  mg/kg body weight, respectively, of Albuca nigritana deionized water extract through oral intubation, while groups 8, 9, 10 and 11 were given 200, 400, 600 and 800  mg/kg body weight of Albuca nigritana diethylether extracts respectively for fourteen (14) consecutive days after which the rats were fasted overnight and sacrificed. The phytochemical screening revealed presence of alkaloids, terpeniods, saponnins, cardiac glycosides, anthocyanins, tannins and flavanoids in concentrations that varied significantly (P < 0.05) between the solvents proximate analysis reveals the presence of ash, fat, moisture, protein, fibre and carbohydrate that also varied significantly with the solvents. The antioxidant indices (catalase, CAT, superoxide dismutase, SOD, glutathione reductase, GR.) were found to decrease significantly (P<0.05) in group 2, while Malondialdehyde, MDA increased significantly (P<0.05) when compared to group 1 (normal control). On treatment with vitamin C and deionized water and diethylether extracts, the activities of CAT, SOD, GR, increased significantly (P<0.05), while the level of MDA decreased significantly (P<0.05). Low density lipoprotein, total cholesterol and triglyceride showed significant (P<0.05) increase, while high density lipoprotein concentration reduced significantly (P<0.05) in group 2 when compared to group 1. Pretreatment with vitamin C and the extracts, high density lipoprotein increased significantly, (P<0.05), while low density lipoprotein, total cholesterol and triglyceride  reduced significantly (P<0.05).The results obtained from this study indicate that bulb extracts of Albuca nigritana may possess antioxidant and antilipidemic properties, and this may be due to their chemical constituents. These properties of the extracts may be partly responsible for the applications of the bulb of Albuca nigritana in treatment and management of some cardiovascular disease.


1.1 Background of the Study

The family Hyacinthaceae comprises about 46 genera with 700-900 species found in North America, Eurasia and Africa. Members of the family Hyacinthaceae are found in all parts of Uburu in Ebonyi State, Nigeria on rocky outcrops devoid of shady trees. They are known to contain phytochemicals which are useful for a number of purposes Temikotan et al., (2013). They are generally rich in alkaloids and saponins (Davidson, 2009). These phytochemicals, along with tannins, phytates, cardiac glycosides and other phenolic compounds have pronounced biological and physiological consequences in microbes Temikotan et al., (2013). The leaves form a bulb which opens with lanceolate or linear-lanceolate blades. The leaves are of different shades of green, glabrous, with entire margin, sometimes spotted as in some members of the genus Scilla or with patches of whitish colour as in Ledebouria (Leisher, 2000; Manning et al.,2002). Hyde and Werstent (2009) described some members as having linear leaves with smooth, undulate, ciliate or papillose margin.

Medicinal plants are used in healing as well as curing of human and other animal diseases owing to the presence of phytochemical constituents. Integrating the use of plants into medicinal systems is due to their low cost, drug resistance, limitations of medicine, medicinal value, cultural exchange and commercial value Valiathan, (1998). Plants are very good sources of medicinal compounds that have continued to play a primary role in the treatment, management and cure of diseases, relieve pains and maintenance of human health since ancient times (Matsuada et al., 2011). The medicinal properties of plants may be due to some biochemical constituents that exert physiological action on the system. There has been considerable interest in the study of plants for the purpose of medicinal application and plants have been the basis for medical treatments through much of human history, and such traditional medicine is still widely practiced today (Fabricant and Farnsworth, 2001). According to Nostro et al., (2000) medicinal plants have been identified and used throughout human history. The use of plants as medicines predates written human history. Ethnobotany (the study of traditional human uses of plants) is recognized as an effective way to discover future medicines.

The use of plants extracts such as Albuca nigritana in the control of pests and diseases as well as in preservation of food is as old as human history.  Rojas et al. (2006) stated that ancient Egypt had developed the use of extracts from plants in the preservation of food, antimicrobial control and in embalming the dead. There is continuous rise of interest in the search for antilipidemic, antioxidant and antimicrobial agents from plants.

Phytochemical analysis reveals the various chemicals present in a plant material. Plants have the ability to synthesize a wide variety of chemical compounds that are used to perform important biological functions, and to protect the plants against attack from predators such as insects, fungi and herbivorous mammals. At least 12,000 of such compounds have been isolated so far, a number estimated to be less than 10 % of the total (Tapsell et al., 2006, Lai and Roy 2004).

Many phytochemicals, particularly the pigment molecules, are often concentrated in the outer layers of the various plant tissues. Levels vary from plant to plant depending upon the variety, processing, cooking and growing conditions (King and Young, 1999).

The chemical constituents of plants have been of immense importance to human. Man’s motivation to characterize plant secondary metabolites is often driven by commercial interest as they have been the source of valuable drugs, pesticides and chemicals important in the food industry (Lea and Leegood, 1999). It is, therefore, imperative to investigate the usefulness of the plants as source of medicine in treatment of diseases . Hence, our study was set out to determine the phytochemical constituents; the antilipidemic and antioxidant properties of Albuca nigritana plant extracts and assess their relevance to drug development.

1.2       Aim and Objectives

This study was aimed at determining the antilipidemic and antioxidant effect of Albuca nigritana against carbon tetrachloride -induced toxicity in rats.      

The specific objectives are to:

  1.  Determine the phytochemical composition of diethylether and deionized extract of Albuca nigritana.
  2. Determine the effect of diethylether and deionized extract of Albuca nigritanaon  the lipid profile of rats.
  3. Determine the effect of diethylether and deionized extracts of Albuca nigritana on antioxidant indices of albino rats.
  4. Comparism of the effects of the extracts on rats.




Albuca nigritana plant commonly called Nigerian squil is a plant that belongs to the family of Hyacinthaceae. Albuca nigritana are mostly found in damp places. They produce green spindle-like leaves that form a bulb; the leaves are of different shades of green. Albuca nigritana has been shown to contain some important phytochemicals and as such possess antibacterial properties. (Temikotan et al., 2013) The family Hyacinthaceae comprises about 46 genera with 700-900 species found in North America, Eurasia and Africa. Members are found growing throughout Ebonyi State, Nigeria especially in areas devoid of shady trees.


Kingdom      Plantae

Division       Angiosperms

Class           Rosids

 Order          Fabales

 Family        Hyacinthaceae

 Genus       Albuca

Species     Nigritana


There are many phytochemicals found in Albuca nigritana, other plants, and even animal species. These are generally grouped as follows:  

2.2.1    Alkaliods

Members of the hyacinth family, especially the members of the subily Urginoideae are very poisonous due to the presence of the alkaloid bufotenin which is described as toxic even in small doses. They also cause hallucination when mistakenly ingested by grazing animals. This implies that, from members of the family, potential pesticides could be obtained which can be used as rodenticides, insecticides and molluscicides (Taiz and Zeigner, 2002). The presence of alkaloids in members of the family indicates their possible use in the control of bacterial and fungal diseases (Asl et al., 2008).

Alkaloids are found in plants, animal species such as poison-dart frogs  and fungi but are often found in plants which are mostly available in many families of flowering plants that possess many common characteristics such as nitrogen that are derived from amino acids, that may be basic or non-basic forms that includes quaternary compounds and N-oxides. The alkaloid extracts obtained from medicinal plant species of African and Nigerian origin have been of therapeutic values which include antimalarial and antimicrobial properties Boakye-Yiadom (1979) antihyperglycemic, and anti-inflammatory pharmacological effects Tackie and Schiff (1993). Alkaloids have bitter taste, colourless, crystalline solids, and are nonvolatile. Alkaloids are mostly classified based on their chemical structure. For instance, indole alkaloids contains ring system, in addition to, alkaloids are grouped based on the biological system that there are found. For instance, the opium alkaloids are available in opium poppy.


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