keywords: Medicinal plants, Pyrrolizidine alkaloids, Toxicity, Nigeria
Pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs) are toxic for humans and animal. Many episodes of human PAs intoxication are reported worldwide. This research investigated the presence of PAs in some plants used as vegetables and herbs (to treat various diseases like malaria, fever, diabetes, microbial infections among others) in Nigeria. Thin Layer Chromatography (TLC) detection with Ehrlich reaction method of Mattocks was used to screen 25 plant species of edible and non edible types. Results revealed that most of these plants contain traces (indicated by +) of PAs; however, PAs was abundant (indicated by ++ sign) in Moringa oleifera, Synedrella nodifolia, Velvet tarmarind, Emillia cocceineaand Bombax costatum while few like piper guinense, Ocimuro gratissimum, Hibiscus sabdariffa, Abelmoschus esculentus, Telfairia occidentalis, and SpinaciaoleraceaI which are usually used as soup, the alkaloid was absence . The presence of PAs in these edible and medicinal plants is an indication that people consuming them are exposing to toxicity. It is therefore, imperative to consume these vegetables with caution and for the tradomedical practitioners, to administer these plants/herbs with verifiable dose to avoid organ toxicity.