The infusion of leaves of Plantago major (Plantaginaceae), known as "tansagem" or "transagem", is used as antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, anti-thermal in the prevention of tumors and in the treatment of neoplasms. This effect is attributed to the flavonoids found in diverse species of the genus Plantago. The present study aimed to evaluate the potential toxic and mutagenic effects of the crude hydroalcoholic extract from P. major leaves by means of in vivo tests with Allium cepa and micronucleus. For the plant biological assay, meristems of A. cepa roots were used for the preparation of slides by adopting the crushing technique. In the micronucleus assay, slides of bone marrow cells from rodents were analyzed. Statistical analyses were carried out according to Tukey's test (ρ<0.05) for the Allium cepa assay and Scott-Knott test (ρ<0.05) for the micronucleus assay. Results of the A. cepa test demonstrate that there was a significant reduction in the germination index at all tested concentrations. P. major causes alteration in the cell cycle by inhibiting the division of cells, as indicated by the mitotic index. The indexes of clastogenic and aneugenic effects show that, in addition to not determining the increase in chromosomal aberrations, which indicates the absence of genotoxic action, P. major has anti-genotoxic activity. Results of the micronucleus test reinforce the suggestion that P. major extract does not have mutagenic activity but causes alterations in the cell division.
mutagenesis; tansagem; medicinal plants; Allium cepa; micronucleus