Clement Afari, George Asumeng Koffuor, Precious Duah
In Ghana cataract is said to be the leading cause of blindness. However, management through surgery is accompanied by several adverse effects and takes care of only about a quarter of the need. The study therefore was aimed at investigating claims that Cucumis sativus andCucumbita pepo have anti-cataract properties. Prior to induction of cataract in Sprague-Dawley rats using galactose and through the cataract induction period, groups of rats were treated with 50, 100, and 150 mg/kg of preparations of C. sativus or C. pepo, per os, daily and compared with controls. An acute and delayed toxicity study was also performed on the herbal products. The galactose only treated group showed consistently significant (P ≤ 0.001) development of cataract over the 4-week study period. The Cucumis sativus and Cucumbita pepo preparations steadily and significantly (P ≤ 0.001) delayed cataract formation over the period, with Cucumbita pepo performing better. The cataract scores recorded for the combined treatment with the herbal preparations and galactose were significantly lower (P ≤ 0.001) compared to galactose only treated group. Doses below 150 mg/kg ingested did not show acute toxic symptoms and mortality. This study therefore has established that Cucumis sativus and Cucumbita pepo when used in lower doses regularly could be effective in delaying cataractogenesis. The No-Observable-Adverse-Effect level (NOAEL) was 50-150 mg/kg; LD50was greater than 250 mg/kg.
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