Open Access Research article

Acute toxicity and the 28-day repeated dose study of a Siddha medicine Nuna Kadugu in rats

Ramaswamy Selvaratnam Ramaswamy1*, Nettam Prathyusha2, Ruthiramoorthi Saranya2, Haridass Sumathy2, Kutuva Tulasi Mohanavalli2, Raju Jyothi Priya2, Jayakothanda Ramaswamy Venkhatesh2, Chidambaram Saravana Babu2, Kumarasamy Manickavasakam1 and Sadagopan Thanikachalam2

Author affiliations

1 Department of Sirappu Maruthuvam, National Institute of Siddha, Tambaram Sanatorium, Chennai, 600 047, India

2 Centre for Toxicology and Developmental Research (CEFT), Sri Ramachandra University, Ramachandra Nagar, Chennai, 600 116, India

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Citation and License

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:190  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-190

Published: 22 October 2012



Nuna Kadugu (NK), a Siddha medicine prepared from leaves and fruits of Morinda Pubescens, used for the treatment of various skin diseases. Though NK has been widely used for several decades, no scientific report was available on its safety. Present study was undertaken to demonstrate the oral toxicity of NK in Sprague Dawley rats.


Acute and 28-day repeated oral toxicity studies were performed following OECD test guidelines 423 and 407, respectively, with minor modifications. In acute oral toxicity study, NK was administered at 2000mg/kg b.wt., p.o and animals were observed for toxic signs at 0, 0.5, 1, 4, 24 h and for next 14 days. Gross pathology was performed at the end of the study. In repeated dose, the 28- day oral toxicity study, NK was administered at 300, 600 and 900 mg/kg b.wt./p.o/day. Two satellite groups (control and high dose) were also maintained to determine the delayed onset toxicity of NK. Animals were observed for mortality, morbidity, body weight changes, feed and water intake. Haematology, clinical biochemistry, electrolytes, gross pathology, relative organ weight and histopathological examination were performed.


In acute toxicity study, no treatment related death or toxic signs were observed with NK administration. In the repeated dose study, no significant differences in body weight changes, food / water intake, haematology, clinical biochemistry and electrolytes content were observed between control and NK groups. No gross pathological findings and difference in relative organ weights were observed between control and NK treated rats. Histopathological examination revealed no abnormalities with NK treatment.


Acute study reveals that the LD50 of NK is greater than 2000mg/kg, b.wt. in fasted female rats and can be classified as Category 5. 28-day repeated oral toxicity demonstrates that the No Observed Adverse Effect Level of NK is greater than 900 mg/kg b.wt./day, p.o in rats. There were no delayed effects in NK satellite group. In conclusion, NK was found to be non-toxic in the tested doses and experimental conditions.

Morinda Pubescens; Nuna; Nuna Kadugu; Vitiligo; Acute toxicity; Sub-acute toxicity