It has been reported that infectious diseases account for one-half of all deaths in the tropicalcountries (WHO, 1977). As a result, people of all continents have long applied poultice and imbibed infusions of indigenous plants dating back to prehistory for health purposes and is still in use today (Sofowora, 1993). Plant medicine (Phytomedicine) has been used in healthcare delivery in many parts of Africa and the rest of the world (Elujoba, et al., 2005).Effective health cannot be achieved in Africa, unless orthodox medicine is complemented with traditional medicine (Elujoba, et al., 2005). At least 80% of Africans depend on plant medicine for their healthcare (Sofowora, 1993). Fruits and vegetables have been recognized as natural sources of various bioactive compounds (Pennington and Fisher, 2010) which could be attributed to their phytoconstituents such as flavonoids, anthocyanins, vitamins C and E, phenolic compounds, dietary fiber, and carotenoids present in fruits and vegetables (Gonz´alez-Aguilar, et al., 2008).
One of such medicinal fruit is Citrullus lanatus. Although several of its uses in traditional medicine have been documented, many of these claims are yet to be validated by scientific researchers. Citrullus lanatus (Egusi melon) is the ancestors of the water melon now found in the entire world, but originated from west Africa. Egusi melon is a member of thefamily cucurbitaceae. Cucurbitaceae is the largest family, containing 120 genera and approximately 825 species (mabberly, 1987), typically distributed in the tropical countries but poorly represented in the temperate regions. Cucurbitaceae are important source of food like pumpkin (cucurbita pepo), melon (cucumis melo), cucumber (cucumis sativa), water melon (citrullus lanatus) (Nazimuddin and Naqvi, 1984; Sultan et al., 2010).
The nutritional quality of watermelon as evaluated by Mathias et al., 2001, shows that it is very rich in vitamins A 3%, some of the B series like Thiamine (Vit. B1), Riboflavin (Vit. B2) , Niacin (Vit. B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), Vitamin B6 and Folate (Vit.B9) which range between 1-3%, Vitamin C 14%. The mineral composition was Calcium 1%, Iron 2%, Magnesium 3%, Phosphorus 2%, Potassium 2%, Zinc 1% Nutrition of Watermelon, raw (edible parts) Nutritional value per 100 g , percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. It is also rich in essential amino acids like arginine, glutamine, aspartic and minerals such as zinc and essential fatty acids (Ojeih et al., 2008) which may be of great importance to prostate health. Essential fatty acids (EFA) are nutritionally important in ensuring good prostate growth and relieving symptoms of prostate ailments (Strategy for Wellness by Source Naturals, Inc., 2000; SEPASAL, 2004). Water melon is 92 percent water by weight. Water melon is also mildly diuretic. Water melon with red flesh is a significant source of lycopene. Water melon contains about 6 percent sugar by weight, the rest being mostly water. As with many other fruits, it is a source of vitamin c. it is not a significant source of other vitamins and minerals unless one eats several kilograms per day. The amino acid citrulline was first extracted from water melon and analysed. Water melon contains a significant amount of citrulline and after consumption of several kilograms, an elevated concentration is measured in blood plasma, this could be mistaken for citrullinaemia. There is however a dearth of publication on the effects of Citullus lanatus juice on testicular health.
1.2 SCOPE OF RESEARCH
This study sought to know the effects of water melon juice on some characteristics of male rat reproductive functions, such as sperm morphology, motility, viability, count and histology of the testis and epididymis
1.3 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES OF RESEARCH
The specific objectives of this study is to investigate the effect of water melon juice on the following:
- Sperm count of adult male wistar rats
- Sperm motility(including progressive and non progressive motility)of adult male wistar rats
- Sperm morphologyof adult male wistar rats
- Histology of the testis in adult male wistar rats .
- Histology of the epididymis in adult male wistar rats
1.4 JUSTIFICATION OF RESEARCH
Several studies have demonstrated the phytomedical importance of water melon. Many investigations has been carried out on the potential use of water melon as a herbal solution to some ailments.However, there is a dearth of publications on the effect of water melon on testicular health.
1.5 EXPECTED CONTRIBUTION TO KNOWLEDGE
At the end of this study, this research is expected to reveal the possible histological effect of watermelon juice on the testes of adult male wistar rats and to show how water melon juice affects the selected sperm characteristics (Sperm count, Sperm motility and Sperm morphology).