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Efficacy and safety of Juniperus phoenicea extracts used as remedy for liver in Saudi Arabia
The aerial parts of Juniperus phoenicea L. (Cupressaceae), known locally as: Arayar, were extracted with ethanol. The ethanol extract was fractionated using liquid-liquid fractionation to yield petroleum ether, CHCl3 and MeOH fractions. The total ethanol extract as well as the fractions were tested for their hepatoprotective effects against carbon tetrachloride toxicity using Wistar albino rats. Biochemical parameters (serum glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase (SGOT), serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase (SGPT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and total bilirubin) [1–3], estimation of nonprotein sulfhydryl groups (NP-SH)  and histopathology  were used as measures for the extent of liver protection. The total extract and all fractions showed variable levels of protection reflected as reduction in the elevated biochemical parameters. A high dose (500mg/kg) of the MeOH fraction showed best results. The low dose (250mg/kg) MeOH fraction was the best in reducing the levels of liver enzymes. The recovery of the nonprotein sulfhydryl groups (NP-SH) was best with the CHCl3 fraction. Although the histopathological appearance of the liver cells treated with the total extract did not show any protection, all the fractions induced certain degrees of protection. The Safety of the fractions was evaluated via both, acute and subchronic toxicity studies using Swiss albino mice.
Acknowledgements: The work was supported by grants from KACST, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia to Dr. Alqasoumi. The authors are grateful to Dr Abdulmalik M. AlSheikh for help in the histopathological study, Mr. Ali D. Al-Sawadi and Mr. Malik Sawood for technical assistance.
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