JYR Wong, YS Chen, S Chakravarthi, JP Judson, Santhana Raj L and HM Er (2013). The effects of Euphorbia hirta on the ultrastructure of the murine liver, kidney and aorta. Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine 6(5): 1247-125
Euphorbia hirta is widely used in traditional remedies and has been used cross-culturally for generations against maladies such as asthma, skin ailments and hypertension. Previous studies have demonstrated that Euphorbia hirta has antibacterial activity, and have also indicated certain antimolluscidal, antimalarial and anti-inflammatory properties, the latter of which have been suggested to be more pronounced than those of the rheumatological drug, etanercept. To date, no studies have identified the anatomical effects of this herb on the organs of test animals. This study aimed to identify the effects of Euphorbia hirta on the ultrastructure of the murine liver, kidney and aorta. A total of 32 adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups; three groups were fed with aqueous extracts of Euphorbia hirta at doses of 1, 10 and 50 mg/kg, respectively, every alternate day for 50 days, while one group served as a control. The animals were later sacrificed and the liver, kidney and aorta harvested for examination by electron microscopy. The aorta showed no ultrastructural changes across the groups. Renal and hepatic tissue from the treated groups demonstrated dose-dependent injuries, which showed architectural damage beginning in the nuclei and spreading outwards. Taking into consideration the properties of Euphorbia hirta that have been described in previous studies, in addition to the results from the present study, it appears that the herb may exhibit similar effects to those of the quinolone group of antibiotics. Further in-depth investigations are required into the potential effects of Euphorbia hirta, deleterious and otherwise.