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In vitro anthelmintic and antioxidant activities of the leaf extracts of Theobroma cacao L.

1 Protein Chemistry, Nutraceuticals, Phytomedicine, Drug Metabolism and Medicinal Chemistry Laboratories, Department of Chemical Sciences, Afe Babalola University, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti, Nigeria
2 Protein Chemistry Laboratory, Department of Biochemistry, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun, Nigeria

Theobroma cacao L. (Sterculiaceae) leaves have been used in folklore medicine as treatment for wound healing, worm expellers and malaria cure. In this study, the antioxidant and anthelmintic activities of aqueous and ethanolic extracts of the leaves of Theobroma cacao were investigated. The phytochemicals (tannins, phenols, saponins, terpenoids, flavonoids and glycosides) present in the leaves were determined using standard procedures. Antioxidant activities such as free radical scavenging and ferric reducing power of the aqueous and ethanolic extracts were determined. In vitro anthelmintic properties of the extracts were also investigated using adult earthworms (Pheretima posthuma) and the amount of time for paralysis and subsequently death was determined. Tannins, saponins, glycosides, phenol were found to be present in all the extracts, flavonoids were present in the ethanolic extract only. Aqueous extract (extracted at hot conditions) had higher DPPH scavenging activity with IC50 of 11.76 mg/mL while the ethanolic extract had higher ferric reducing power, total phenolic content and anthelmintic potential. All the extracts elicited significant anthelmintic activity comparable to that of standard drug (albendazole) with ethanolic extract showing lesser time taken to paralysis and death (14 ± 0.00 min and 16 ± 1.15 min respectively) for 50 mg/mL concentration. The presence of important phytochemicals and antioxidants in the leaves is a scientific justification of the traditional use of the plant in folklore medicine against various diseases affecting both humans and animals, especially as an anthelmintic.
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