In vivo antimutagenic activity of the medicinal plants Pfaffia glomerata (Brazilian ginseng) and Ginkgo biloba.
Complementary and alternative therapies, including the use of medicinal plants, have become almost standard among the world's population. Pfaffia glomerata (PG), popularly known as Brazilian ginseng, is widely used as a restorer of vital functions, increasing mental balance, and is used for the treatment of diabetes and rheumatism. Ginkgo biloba (GB) is one of the oldest known gymnosperms, whose leaves are widely used for its potentiating action on the nervous system. The biological activities of these plants were determined on bone marrow cells of Wistar rats treated in vivo. For cytotoxic and mutagenic acute analysis, plant extracts were administered by gavage at concentrations of 0.15, 1.5, and 15 mg PG/mL water and 1, 2, and 3 mg GB/mL water. For antimutagenic analysis, plant extracts aqueous solution (PG, 1.5 mg/mL or GB, 2 mg/mL) were administered by gavage before (pretreatment), simultaneous to (simultaneous treatment), or after (post-treatment) the administration of cyclophosphamide (1.5 mg/mL, intraperitoneally). Both plant extracts have no cytotoxic or mutagenic potential, and they significantly reduce the percentage of chromosomal aberrations induced by the cyclophosphamide given simultaneously (PG, 87%; GB, 75%), pretreatment (PG, 98%, GB, 78%) and post-treatment (PG, 99%, GB, 75%). This beneficial antimutagenic property of the medicinal plants P. glomerata and G. biloba presented here, with no cytotoxic or mutagenic activity, can efficiently contribute to improvements in quality of life and recovery for people undergoing chemotherapeutic treatment, or those looking for health and preventive habits.