School of Medical and Health Sciences
Citrus aurantifolia (Christm.) Swingle (syn. C. MEDICA var. ACIDA Brandis) (family: Rutaceae) essential oil is one of the cheapest oils found in local markets. Although, it is generally accepted as non-toxic to vital organs and cells, majority of people are cynical about it usage. Herein, the present study reports the chemical composition and in vivo oral toxicity study of unripe C. aurantifolia essential oil found in Ghana. The toxicity of C. aurantifolia essential oil extract was investigated via oral administration using two methods: The acute toxicity single dose study (SDS) and the repeated dose method. The oil exhibited no acute toxicity but in the sub-chronic studies, the effects was dose and time-dependent. Chemical profile investigation of the oil showed 9 constituent of phytochemicals (Germacrene isomers (61.2%), Pineen (14%), Linalool dimmer (2.9%), Bornane (11%), Citral (2.9%), Anethole (1.5%), Anisole (1.1%), Safrole (0.3%) and Demitol (0.6%)). Histopathological studies revealed conditions such as necrosis, edema and inflammatory reaction in the liver, spleen and kidneys. Marginal upsurge of biochemical parameters above normal and elevated levels of lymphocytes (35.20–46.40 g/dL) demonstrated mild toxicity among the 100 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg dose groups at the sub-chronic stage. Low levels of hemoglobin (13.60 to 12.70 g/dL), MCV (34.20–24.0 fL), MCH (40.20–36.40 g/dL) along with high levels of liver enzymes confirmed the mild toxicity of the oil at sub-chronic stage. These results demonstrate that, despite consideration of lime essential oil as safe, it can have mild hematotoxic, nephrotoxic and hepatotoxic effects.
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