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Background: The use of Vernonia amygdalina leaves as vegetables and in folklore medicine for therapeutic activities is on the increase globally.
Aim: This study, therefore, sought to investigate the antifertility effect of V. amygdalina leaves in male Wistar rats.
Methods: Fresh and healthy leaves of V. amygdalina were harvested from the Institute of Agricultural Research and Training, Moor Plantation, Ibadan. They were dried and extracted using ethanol as the solvent. Thirty male Wistar rats were grouped into 6 of 5 rats each. Animals in groups A, B, and C were administered normal saline for 10, 20, and 30 days respectively via the oral route. Those in groups D, E, and F were treated with 500 mg/kg body weight of leaf extract of V. amygdalina. At the end of treatment, the animals were sacrificed by cervical dislocation. The internal organs were exposed. Testes and cauda epididymis were removed and kept in the sterilized glass. Male fertility parameters were determined using standard methods.
Results: Ethanolic leaf extract of V. amygdalina decreased sperm count and sperm motility while abnormality of spermatozoa increased significantly after 10, 20, and 30 days treatment respectively. However, seminal pH and sperm mortality were only perturbed after 30 days of treatment. The changes in seminal quality of V. amygdalina leaf treated-animals showed antifertility effects.
Conclusion: Excessive consumption of high doses of V. amygdalina may have a negative impact on sperm count, motility and viability of sperms, thus decreasing fertility. But this does not automatically translate to such effect on humans.
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