Despite the availability of modern (orthodox) medicine, many developing countries, especially in the rural areas, still rely heavily on traditional healers and medicinal plants to meet their primary health care needs and that of their domestic animals. This has been attributed to easy accessibility and low cost of herbal medicine. In Eastern Nigeria, fresh leaves of Spondias mombin
is widely used by the natives to aid delivery and to expel the placenta in small ruminants (sheep and goats), especially during difficult labour.
The present study was designed to evaluate the in vivo
effects of leaf extracts of S. mombin
on reproductive performance of female rats.
Acute toxicity test of the plant extract was carried out in rats of both sexes. The anticonceptive and abortifacient activity of the extract were investigated, including the Fertility Index or embryo score of control and treated animals. The estrogenic activity was determined using ovariectomized rats.
The results revealed a relatively non-toxic plant extract. The extract displayed anticonceptive but not abortifacient activity as judged by the number of pregnant animals at the end of the third trimester of pregnancy. The extract did not exhibit any oestrogenic activity.
Aqueous ethanol leaf extract of S. mombin
has significant anticonceptive activity attributed to a direct action of the extract on the uterus.