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Antifleas Activity and Safety of Tithonia diversifolia and Senna didymobotrya Extracts

Author(s): Githinji James Maina, Maitho Timothy, Mbaria James Muchunu

Background: Tithonia diversifolia and Senna didymobotrya have been used traditionally as bio-pesticides. Their use in the control of fleas, and also their aqueous extract safety is not adequately documented.

Methods: Antifleas activity of Tithonia diversifolia and Senna didymobotrya were compared with Chrysanthemum cinerariifolium, and also their acute toxicity in Wister rats and dermal and eye irritation in Newzealand albino rabbit were studied using a method reported previously. Crude aqueous extracts of flowers and leaves for T. diversifolia, leaves of S. didymobotrya and flowers of C. cinerariifolium were prepared and serial dilutions of the crude extracts and control drugs were prepared. Whatman’s filter paper no.1 stripes were coated with plant extracts which were used to investigate antifleas activity, using fleas obtained from mongrel dogs. The activities were observed after 24 and 48 hours by counting the number of life fleas in the polypylene tubes.

Results: T. diversifolia showed most (93%) antifleas activity, C. cinerariifolium (90%) and S. didymobotrya 66.3%. The three plants extracts studied did not show any signs of eye or dermal toxicity and had LD50 of above 2000 mg/kg.

Conclusions: Further studies should be conducted in order to find out if T. diversifolia flowers can be used to control jigger flea.

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