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Background: There is a general belief that Chrysophyllum albidum fruit (cherry) has the ability to induce abortion (miscarriage) in pregnant women due to its sour taste.
Aim: This study sought to investigate if this fruit actually induces miscarriage or not.
Methods: Freshly harvested C. albidum fruits were purchased from a local market in Orita-Challenge Area of Ibadan. The seeds were removed and the juice was extracted. Thirty fertile male and thirty female Wistar rats were used for this study. After seven days acclimatization, the female rats were separated into its individual cages and had estrus synchronization using Diethylstilbestrol dissolved in paraffin oil and administered at the dose of 1 mg/kg body weight. A male was then introduced into each cage for mating. On the 7th day vaginal smear of each of the female rats was made on a clean glass slide by carefully inserting a cotton-tipped swab moistened with normal saline into the vaginal cavity of the rats and rolled gently against the wall before withdrawal. The smear was stained with Giemsa and observed under microscope to check for presence of protein coagulates. After confirmation of pregnancy, the pregnant rats were grouped into four. Group A was treated with normal saline, groups B, C and D were treated with undiluted C. albidum fruit juice for 24, 48 and 72 hours respectively. The animals were then observed daily till they littered. In vitro effect of the fruit on isolated rat uteri was determined using standard method.
Results: No abortion was observed all through the period of pregnancy following administration of C. albidum fruit juice as all the pregnant rats appeared physically healthy and successfully littered at the end of pregnancy.
Conclusion: C. albidum fruit induced multiple contractions of the pregnant rat uteri following in vitro administrations but did not induce abortion when administered to pregnant rats. This suggests that cherry fruit contains active agents which could be isolated and processed into pure utero-tonic agents for use by routes other than the oral. Hence, the consumption of cherry remains relatively safe in pregnancy.