All over the world, many species of medicinal plants are used for disease treatments. However, most of them were not deeply studied; and the presence of cytotoxic or mutagenic substances in their composition or resulting from their metabolism may be harmful to human beings. The mutagenic effects caused by such substances result in chromosomal changes which are detecTable during the cell cycle of a species through cytogenetic analysis. The Allium cepa test system is widely used for evaluating the genotoxic potential of infusions (tea) made of medicinal plants, through the cell cycle analysis. The knowledge of the genotoxic potential of such species through the Allium cepa test serves as a warning and safety bioindicator for the population who uses medicinal tea quite often as the unique alternative for disease treatment of its people. In the review article, we intend to inform people about the importance of the Allium cepa test for evaluating the genotoxicity of infusions of medicinal plants.
Allium cepa; medicinal plants; cytotoxicity; mutagenicity