Antimalarial plants are a major reason for Africa
having any humans living in the continent at all. Malaria is a deadly disease
and I have read that until Europeans had access to quinine, they pretty much stayed
out of Africa because malaria killed them rapidly.
I searched PubMed for “antimalarial plants” and “malaria
and plants”. These plants are all effective when they are ingested: however,
the continent of Africa is filled with plants
that are effective antimalarials because they kill mosquitoes, or repel
mosquitoes just by sitting and growing (pyrethrum) or when they are burned (orange
My interest in plants repelling mosquitoes came from my
association with the Faculty of Pharmacy and the brilliant Nigerian scientist Professor
HAB Coker, who cheerfully
nurtures medicinal plants that are known to heal or cure or prevent any disease.
He has a lovely farm in land at the University
of Lagos main campus that
gently slopes down into the bay. He has planted around his house plants that
repel mosquitoes, snakes, and probably a whole lot of other living creatures
that make life uncomfortable or deadly for humans living in Africa.
Professor Coker is Nigerian, was trained in Pharmacy at Nigeria’s first school
of Pharmacy at the University of Lagos,
and has a PhD in pharmaceutics from the University
of Strathclyde in Scotland. He
was a young full professor, a young Chairman of Pharmacy and a young Deputy
Vice Provost of the University
of Lagos. Amongst his achievements
was setting up a Quality Control laboratory for the state of Lagos;
all drugs administered in a state-run hospital or clinic throughout Lagos are tested in his
During the 2008 summer in New Jersey, Kenyan Macharia Waruingi, who
lived in my house for 7 months, liked to work on his computer in my back garden:
citronella candles were not as effective repelling mosquitoes as the incense
sticks my daughter lit for him.
More than 30 years of burning incense and I never knew
they repelled mosquitoes. What else do I not know about repelling mosquitoes, eliminating
TRAGER W, POLONSKY J. ANTIMALARIAL ACTIVITY OF QUASSINOIDS AGAINST CHLOROQUINE-RESISTANT PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM IN VITRO. AM J TROP MED HYG. 1981;30(3):531-7. The growth of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro was inhibited by quassinoids (the bitter principles from plants of the family Simaroubaceae). The most active compound, simalikalactone D, completely inhibited at 0.005 microg/mL. Glaucarubinone and soularubinone inhibited at 0.006 microg/mL. Chaparrinone and simarolide were not inhibitory at 0.01 microg/mL. These inhibitions parallel their antineoplastic effects.
OBIH PO, MAKINDE M, LAOYE OJ. INVESTIGATIONS OF VARIOUS EXTRACTS OF MORINDA LUCIDA FOR ANTIMALARIAL ACTIONS ON PLASMODIUM BERGHEI BERGHEI IN MICE. AFR J MED MED SCI. 1985;14(1-2):45-9. Morinda lucida extracts, the stem bark, the root bark and the leaves were screened for antimalarial activity in a "4-day schizontocidal test' against a chloroquine-sensitive strain of P berghei berghei in mice. Each extract was administered as a single daily dose on days 0, 1, 2 and 3 to mice that had received an intraperitoneal inoculum of 1 X 107 infected erythrocytes. Each extract suppressed parasitaemia. Chromatographic fractions of the stem bark extracts at the highest dose suppressed parasitaemia 96.4%.
O'NEILL MJ, BRAY DH, BOARDMAN P, CHAN KL, PHILLIPSON JD, WARHURST DC, PETERS W. PLANTS AS SOURCES OF ANTIMALARIAL DRUGS, PART 4: ACTIVITY OF BRUCEA JAVANICA FRUITS AGAINST CHLOROQUINE-RESISTANT PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM IN VITRO AND AGAINST PLASMODIUM BERGHEI IN VIVO. J NAT PROD. 1987;50:41-8. Extracts of Brucea javanica fruit were tested. Its antimalarial activity results from its quassinoid constituents. Nine of the quassinoids had in vitro IC50 between 0.046-0.0008 microg/mL against the chloroquine resistant Plasmodium falciparum strain (Kl) tested. The 2 quassinoid glycosides tested were considerably less active in vitro than the aglycones. Four quassinoids had activity in vivo against Plasmodium berghei infections in mice after oral dosing. All 5 quassinoids tested in vivo had toxicity.
MORETTI C, DEHARO E, SAUVAIN M, JARDEL C, DAVID PT, GASQUET M. ANTIMALARIAL ACTIVITY OF CEDRONIN. J ETHNOPHARMACOL. 1994;43(1):57-61. Cedronin was isolated from Simaba cedron Planchon (Simaroubaceae), a species popularly believed in South America to have antimalarial properties. Cedronin was active against chloroquine-sensitive and resistant strain, with an IC50 of 0.25 microg/mL. It was also found to be active in vivo against Plasmodium vinkei with an IC50 of 1.8mg/kg in the classic 4-day test. Cedronin is in a subgroup of quassinoids with a C19 basic skeleton and has low cytotoxicity against KB cells (IC50 = 4microg/mL) compared with C20 biologically active quassinoids; however its toxic/therapeutic ratio (10/1.8) is lower than chloroquine (10/0.5).
ANG HH, CHAN KL, MAK JW. IN VITRO ANTIMALARIAL ACTIVITY OF QUASSINOIDS FROM EURYCOMA LONGIFOLIA AGAINST MALAYSIAN CHLOROQUINE-RESISTANT PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM ISOLATES. PLANTA MED. 1995;61(2):177-8. Three quassinoids from the roots of Eurycoma longifolia Jack were evaluated for antimalarial activity against 9 Plasmodium falciparum isolates from patients who had chloroquine-resistant malaria. Eurycomanol, eurycomanol 2-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, and 13 beta, 18-dihydroeurycomanol had IC50 values of 1.2 to 4.9 microM, 0.4-3.5 microM, and 0.5-2.3 microM, respectively, compared with 0.3-0.8 microM for chloroquine.
FRANÇOIS G, DIAKANAMWA C, TIMPERMAN G, BRINGMANN G, STEENACKERS T, ATASSI G, VAN LOOVEREN M, HOLENZ J, TASSIN JP, ASSI LA, VANHAELEN-FASTRE R, VANHAELEN M. ANTIMALARIAL AND CYTOTOXIC POTENTIAL OF FOUR QUASSINOIDS FROM HANNOA CHLORANTHA AND HANNOA KLAINEANA, AND THEIR STRUCTUREACTIVITY RELATIONSHIPS. INT J PARASITOL. 1998;28(4):635-40. Hannoa chlorantha and Hannoa klaineana (Simaroubaceae) are used in traditional medicine of Central African countries for fevers and malaria. Four stem bark extracts from H klaineana and 4 quassinoids from H chlorantha were examined in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum NF 54. The quassinoids IC50: chaparrinone was 0.04 and 15-desacetylundulatone was 0.05 microg/mL. Chaparrinone is 5 times more active than 14-hydroxychaparrinone against P falciparum. Compared with chaparrinone, 14-hydroxychaparrinone has a 7-times higher cytotoxic activity against P-388 cells. 15-Desacetylundulatone was the most active compound, almost totally suppressing the parasitaemias of OF1 mice for 7 days. Both chaparrinone and 14-hydroxychaparrinone were active for 4 days. Quassinoids have ED50 values under 50 mg/kg-body weight day and none had side effects. The keto function at C-2 in 15-desacetylundulatone is apparently of crucial importance for its high activity. 6-alpha-Tigloyloxyglaucarubol was not active.
MUÑOZ V, SAUVAIN M, BOURDY G, CALLAPA J, ROJAS I, VARGAS L, TAE A, DEHARO E. THE SEARCH FOR NATURAL BIOACTIVE COMPOUNDS THROUGH A MULTIDISCIPLINARY APPROACH IN BOLIVIA. PART II. ANTIMALARIAL ACTIVITY OF SOME PLANTS USED BY MOSETENE INDIANS. J ETHNOPHARMACOL. 2000;69(2):139-55. Forty-six species collected in the Mosetene ethnia, dwelling in the Andean Piedmont of Bolivia, were screened as antimalarials. Thirty-three extracts were screened in vitro on Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistant strain (Indo), and 47 extracts were evaluated in vivo on the rodent malaria P vinckei petteri 279BY. Only 2 plants are specifically used in combination by the Mosetene against malaria attack (Hymenachne donacifolia and Tesseria integrifolia); they had no activity in vivo at 1,000 mg/kg. The in vivo most active extracts were Swietenia macrophylla bark, Trema micrantha bark and Triplaris americana bark, not all of them were used for antimalarial purposes by the Mosetene. The following extracts were moderately active: Jacaratia digitata inner bark and Momordica charantia aerial part (both traditionally used as febrifuge), Kalanchoe pinnate aerial part (used in inflammatory processes), Lunania parviflora twigs and leaves, Phyllanthus acuminatus (used as piscicide), Tynanthus schumannianus fruit (used against diarrhoea), Triumfetta semitrilobata (used as febrifuge, to alleviate kidney and gynecological pain) and finally Solanum mammosum fruit (used against scabies).
CHAN KL, CHOO CY, ABDULLAH NR, ISMAIL Z. ANTIPLASMODIAL STUDIES OF EURYCOMA LONGIFOLIA JACK USING THE LACTATE DEHYDROGENASE
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