Cytotoxic and genotoxic activities of the aqueous extract of refined camphor

Main Article Content

Flora Aigbe
Aminat A. Ajasa
Bukola T. Omowumi
Utom-Ubong U. Akpan
Olufunmilayo O. Adeyemi


Background:  Medicinally, refined camphor commonly known as “kafura pelebe” in south western Nigeria is used in various parts of the world for managing various ailments. It is used as circulatory stimulant, analeptic and for managing gastrointestinal disturbances. A survey of colorectal carcinoma patients in a Nigerian teaching hospital revealed that half of the patients had a history of ingesting refined camphor. The study was carried out to determine the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of the commonly used preparation, aqueous extract of refined camphor (AERC).

Methods: This was done using brine shrimp lethality test (at 5, 50, 500 ?g/ml of AERC) and Allium cepa chromosomal aberration assays (at 2, 100, 200, 1000 and 2000 ?g/ml of AERC) as well as micronucleus and comet assays (at 1.77, 8.83 and 44.13 mg/kg of AERC) in mice.

Results: An LC50 of 1017.65 ?g/ml was estimated for the brine shrimp lethality assay using probit analysis. Significant (p<0.0001) reduction of A. cepa root length and root tip cells’ mitotic index as well as various forms of chromosomal aberrations including vagrant, bridged, and laggard types were observed at 200 - 2000 µg/ml of AERC. In the same vein, micronuclei polychromatic erythrocytes increased in the micronucleus assay.

Conclusion: The results of this study indicate that the aqueous extract of refined camphor is cytotoxic and genotoxic; its risk to benefit ratio needs to be properly evaluated before its use is encouraged going forward.  


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Aigbe, F., A. Ajasa, A. ., T. Omowumi, B. ., U. Akpan, U.-U. ., & O. Adeyemi, O. . (2021). Cytotoxic and genotoxic activities of the aqueous extract of refined camphor . Nigerian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Applied Science Research, 9(4), 45–53. Retrieved from



Sikka SC, Bartolome AR. Perfumery, essential oils, and household chemicals affecting reproductive

and sexual health. In: bioenvironmental issues affecting men's reproductive and sexual health, (2018), pp


Aronson JK. Meyer’s side effect of drugs: The International Encyclopaedia of Adverse Drug

Reactions and Interactions Reference Work, (2016), Elsevier, Netherland.

Evans WC, Evans D. Volatile oils and resins, In Trease and Evans'

Pharmacognosy (Sixteenth Edition), (2009), pp 263-303.

Park TJ, Seo HK, Kang BJ, Kim KT. Noncompetitive inhibition by camphor of nicotinic acetylcholine

receptors. Biochem Pharmacol (2001), 61(7): 787-793.

Rahnama-Moghadam S, Hillis DL, Lange RA. Environmental toxins and the heart. In heart and

toxins, (2015), pp 75-132.

Jadhav MV, Sharma RC, Mansee R, Gangawane AK. Effect of Cinnamomum camphora on human

sperm motility and sperm viability. J Clin Res Let (2010), 1(1): 1-10.

McCrea S. A monograph on camphor. Available from [Accessed on April 01 2020 ]

Yu MC, Garabrant DH, Huang TB, Henderson BE. Occupational and other non-dietary risk factors for nasopharyngeal carcinoma in Guangzhou, Chinese J Cancer Res (1990), 45: 1033–1039.

IARC. Studies of cancer in humans. IARC Monogram on evaluation of carcinogenic risks in

humans No. 70. (1997), IARC, Lyon.

United States National Institute of Health. Guide for the care and use of laboratory Animals. 8th edition, Washington DC, (2011), National Academic Press.

Sowemimo AA, Fakoya FA, Awopetu I, Omobuwajo OR, Adesanya SA. Toxicity and mutagenic activity of some selected Nigerian plants. J Ethnopharmacol (2007), 113: 427 –432.

Aigbe FR, Sofidiya OM, James AB, Sowemimo AA, Akindere OK, Aliu MO. et al. Evaluation of the toxicity potential of acute and sub-acute exposure to the aqueous root extract of Aristolochia ringens Vahl. (Aristolochiaceae). J Ethnopharmacol (2019), 244: 1-10.

Fiskesjö G. Allium test for screening chemicals;evaluation of cytological parameters. In: Wang W, Gorsuch JW, Hughes JS, (eds) Plants for Environmental Studies. New York, USA: Lewis, (1997), pp 308–333.

Osipov A, Arkhangelskaya E, Vinokurov A, Smetanin? N, Zhavoronkov A, Klokov D. DNA comet giemsa staining for conventional bright-field microscopy. Int J Mol (2014), 15: 6086-6095.

Cabaravdic M. Induction of chromosome aberrations in the Allium cepa test system caused by the exposure of cells to benzo(a) pyrene. Med Arh (2010), 64(4): 215-218.

Grant WF. Chromosome aberration assays in Allium. A report of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Gene-Tox Program. Mutat Res (1982), 99: 191-273.

Nielsen MN, Rank J. Screening of toxicity and genotoxicity in waste water by the use of Allium test. Hereditas. (1994), 121: 249-254.

Nefic H, Musanovic J, Metovic A, and Kurteshi K. Chromosomal and nuclear alterations in root tip cells of Allium cepa L. induced by alprazolam. Med Arch (2013), 67(6): 388–392.

Turkoglu S. Genotoxicity of five food preservatives tested on root tips of Allium cepa L. Mutat (2007), 626: 4-14.

Amin AW. Cytotoxicity testing of sewage water treatment using Allium cepa chromosome aberrations assay. Pak J Biologic Sci (2002), 5(2): 1884-1888.

OECD. OECD Guideline for the testing of chemicals. Series on mammalian erythrocyte. micronucleus test draft (2012), TG 474.

Luzhna L, Kathiria P, Kovalchuk O. Micronuclei in genotoxicity assessment: from genetics to

epigenetics and beyond. Front Genet (2013), 4: 131.

OECD. OECD Guideline for the testing of chemicals. In vivo mammalian alkaline comet assay. (2014), TG 489.

D'Costa A, Kumar MKP, Shyama SK. Genotoxicity assays: The micronucleus test and the single-cell gel

electrophoresis assay In: Advances in Biological Science Research, A Practical Approach. Academic Press, (2019), pp 291-301.

Olive PL, Banath JP, Durand RE. Heterogeneity in radiation-induced DNA damage and repair in tumor and

normal cells measured using the “comet” assay, Radiation Res (1990), 122(1): 86–94.