Biomedical and Biotechnology Research Journal (BBRJ)

: 2020  |  Volume : 4  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 137--140

Evaluation of weight and appetite of adult wistar rats supplemented with ethanolic leaf extract of Moringa oleifera

Ferdinand Uwaifo 
 Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Science, Edo University, Iyamho, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Mr. Ferdinand Uwaifo
Department of Medical Laboratory Science, Faculty of Basic Medical Science, Edo University, Iyamho


Background: Moringa oleifera, also known as “tree of life,” has been used in the treatment of numerous diseases. Moringa has been the subject of intensive scientific research; however, there has been scanty information on its sub-acute effect on weight and appetite. This work was done to evaluate the weight and appetite of adult Wistar rats supplemented with ethanolic leaf extract of M. oleifera. Methods: Twenty-eight adult healthy rats were used for this study. The rats were divided into four groups of seven per group and fed with pellets and water ad libitum. Group A served as the controls, Group B was fed with 500 mg/kg of ethanolic extract of Moringa leaf, Group C with 1000 mg/kg, whereas Group D was fed with 1500 mg/kg body weight. Doses were administered once daily using the oral gavage for 28 days. Feed and water intake were monitored, calculated, and values recorded. The body weights of the animals were also monitored weekly, and the values were recorded. The animals were anesthetized with chloroform before the time of sacrifice. Necropsy was performed, and the tissues (liver, lungs, heart, and kidneys) weighed and values were recorded. Results: There were statistically significant increases in feed (126.26 ± 6.02 and 122.61 ± 4.26) and water (152.38 ± 4.29 and 149.96 ± 5.29) intake in the 1000 mg/kg and 1500 mg/kg treated rats, respectively. Statistical differences in the body weights (253.92 ± 4.52 and 251.76 ± 5.55) of the 1000 mg/kg and 1500 mg/kg treated rats, respectively, were noted. Conclusion: The result showed that M. oleifera may cause an increase in appetite and weight at concentrations higher than 1000 mg/kg.

How to cite this article:
Uwaifo F. Evaluation of weight and appetite of adult wistar rats supplemented with ethanolic leaf extract of Moringa oleifera.Biomed Biotechnol Res J 2020;4:137-140

How to cite this URL:
Uwaifo F. Evaluation of weight and appetite of adult wistar rats supplemented with ethanolic leaf extract of Moringa oleifera. Biomed Biotechnol Res J [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Sep 28 ];4:137-140
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Moringa, a plant native to Asia and found in most parts of Nigeria, is the sole genus in the flowering plant family Moringaceae. This genus is made of 12 species.[1]Moringa oleifera is one of the most economically important species.[2] Moreover, it is widely cultivated in different countries.[3] An extensive variety of nutritional and medicinal uses have been attributed to its roots, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and seeds.[4] Virtually, all parts of this plant have been used for the treatment of various diseases which include the treatment of inflammation and infectious diseases along with cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hematological, and hepatic and kidney disorders.[3],[4] Leaves of M. oleifera are traditionally used as purgatives and in the treatment of headaches, hemorrhoids, fevers, inflammation of noise and throat, bronchitis, eye and ear infections, and to combat Vitamin C deficiency. The leaf juice is believed to control glycemia and is applied for swollen glands. Leaves of M. oleifera are cooked and eaten like spinach or used to prepare soups and salads. Fresh leaves have been reported by Mukunzi et al.[5] to contain Vitamin C and Vitamin A, more than those reported in carrots and oranges.

M. oleifera grows across Nigeria and is known by local names that vary between ethnic groups.[6] Thilza et al.[7] reported that it is called Zogale gandi and Bagaruwar Makka in Hausa, Ewe igbale and Idagbo monoye in Yoruba, ikwa oyibo in Igbo, and Kabi in Kilba. Tee et al.[8] also reported that Moringa is known as Haakoobisii in Mumuye, Jeghlegede in Tiv, Gegeredi in Idoma, and Gelgedi in Igala.

This study was carried out to evaluate the weight and appetite of adult Wistar rats supplemented with ethanolic leaf extract of M. oleifera.


Ethical approval

Ethical approval was sought from the Ethical Committee of the Faculty of Health Sciences and Technology, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Nnewi campus. (Ethics committee approval number EC73400 dated June 19, 2018).

Extraction of the plant

The leaf of the Moringa plant, which was used for this study, was cut into small pieces and oven-dried at 40°C. The cut pieces were ground in a mill into powder. Weighed powdered form of M. oleifera (300.1 g) was macerated in 1500 ml of 70% ethanol (Sigma, USA) for 72 h. It was vigorously shaken for 15 min before its rapid filtration using Whatman filter paper. The filtrate was allowed to dry completely over a water bath (Griffin, Britain) regulated at 40°C until a yellow-to-brown aromatic/oily residue was obtained. The residue was allowed to cool and was stored in a tight cap fitted container in a refrigerator set at −4°C. The weight of the extract was 55 g, and the extract yield was calculated using the following formula:



Experimental design

This work was done using 28 apparently adult healthy Wistar rats which were between 11 and 12 weeks of age having a weight range between 210 and 240 g. The rats were divided into four groups of seven rats in each group and were allowed to acclimatize for 2 weeks and fed with standard Pfizer-branded rodent feed obtained from Livestock Feed, Nigeria Ltd., ad libitum and water was available to the rats in water bottles of the downspout type (drinking nozzle facing downward). The acute toxicity test of the ethanolic extracts of M. oleifera showed that no deaths were recorded in rats up to 4500 mg/kg body weight of the extracts. The rats were also fed with Moringa extract at different concentrations Group A: served as the control, Group B: 500 mg/kg, Group C: 1000 mg/kg, and Group D: 1500 mg/kg (which represented one-third of the LD50); Group A were only fed with their normal food and water. The doses were administered once daily using oral gavage for 28 days at the end of the animals were anesthetized with chloroform, while blood samples were collected through the cardiac puncture into plain bottles using 21 gauge (21G) needles mounted on a 5 ml syringe. Necropsy was done, and the kidneys, heart, lungs, and liver tissues were excised and fixed in 10% formal saline for the histological evaluation.

Preparation and administration of doses

A stock solution of 200 mg/ml extract was prepared. The animals were fasted before dosing (i.e., food but not water was withheld for 3–4 h). Following the period of fasting, the animals were weighed. The fasted body weight of each animal was determined, and the dose of the extract administered was calculated according to the body weight. After the substance was administered, food was withheld for 2 h to allow for the complete absorption.

Food and water consumption

Feed intake was monitored daily and was calculated as the difference between the weight of feed given and the weight of left overfeed. Feed, which may have been scattered on the floor by the rats, were also weighed and added to the weight of feed given. Water intake was also monitored daily and was calculated as the difference between the volume of water given and the volume remaining in the water bottle.

Collection of samples

After the rats were humanely sacrificed by chloroform anesthetization, the liver, kidneys, lungs, and heart were immediately excised, freed from adventitia, blotted with tissue paper, weighed, sectioned, and fixed in 10% formol saline.

Absolute organ measurement

At the end of the study, the weights of vital organs (heart, lungs, liver, and kidneys) were measured using a sensitive weighing balance (Ohaus, USA). The organs were eviscerated from the sacrificed/dissected animals, blotted with tissue paper, weighed fresh on a sensitive balance, sectioned, and fixed in 10% formalin solution.

Percentage relative organ weight

The percentage relative organ weights of fresh organs were determined by calculation using the following expression:


Method of data analysis

Statistical significance between the groups was analyzed using the two-way analysis of variance. The results are presented as mean ± standard deviation values less than (P < 0.05) were considered statistically significant.

Carcass disposal

After blood samples were taken and vital organs (heart, liver, kidney, and lungs) eviscerated, the carcass was taken far away from human habitation and buried.


There were statistically significant increases in the food (126.26 ± 6.02 and 122.61 ± 4.26) and water (152.38 ± 4.29 and 149.96 ± 5.29) intake in the 100 mg/kg and 1500 mg/kg treated rats, respectively, when compared with the controls [Table 1]. There was a statistical significance in body weights (253.92 ± 4.52 and 251.76 ± 5.55) of the 1000 mg/kg and 1500 mg/kg treated rats, respectively, when compared to the controls (246.93 ± 6.39) [Table 2]. There was no statistically significant change in the weights of the heart and lungs at all doses tested [Table 3]. However, statistically significant (P < 0.05) increases in the weight of liver at 1500 mg/kg body weight and the kidneys at 1000 mg/kg body weight and 1500 mg/kg body weight relative to the rat weights were recorded [Table 4].{Table 1}{Table 2}{Table 3}{Table 4}


Food and water are the essential nutrients needed by every life for growth and development.[9] As a result of this, whatever influences water intake will as well as influence feeding.[10] It is, therefore, not a surprise to see the same pattern of feed and water intake in the current study. Thus, the increase in feed consumption and water intake implied that the appetite of the animals was enhanced by the doses of the extract.[11]

The findings showed steady increases in body weight throughout the study (i.e., from week 1 to week 4) in the control group. There were progressive reductions in mean weight/week during the first 2 weeks of treatment with Moringa across the doses tested. Furthermore, there were significant progressive elevations in mean weight/week for the rest of the study duration at all doses tested [Table 2]. The observed weight loss among the treated groups during the first 2 weeks of extract administration can be correlated to the reduction in or altered feeding pattern. However, this effect was transient because the experimental animals resumed normal feeding patterns due to regained appetite with ultimate weight gain at the end of the study. The initial loss of appetite by the treated rats may be as a result of the presence of saponins and tannins (due to bitterness and astringent properties of these respective phytochemicals), as previously reported.[12]


Although the consumption of different parts of M. oleifera, including the leaves for various purposes, has been widely accepted, M. oleifera leaf extract was found to cause significant increases in the bodyweight as well as the weight of the liver and kidneys at concentrations higher than 1000 mg/kg.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


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