Phytochemical and antimalarial screening of some plants used in traditional medicine in Coast Province of Kenya.
Malele, Catherine Nyona
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Malaria constitutes one of the major health threats in the tropics and sub-topics areas of the world. It is estimated that 300-500 million cases occur each year and it is responsible for more than 2 million deaths annually. Efforts to develop an antimalarial vaccine have until now been futile because of the complicated stages through which malaria infestation takes place. At the moment chemotherapy should be given due attention, until efficient prevention methods for the diseases are established. Due to the development of resistance by the most dangerous human malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, against chloroquine and its analogues, there is an urgent need to develop alternative and efficient drugs either synthetically or from plant origin. The discovery of quinine from the cinchona (Rubiaceae) tree, which has been used for centuries to treat malaria in Latin America and other parts of the world and the recent isolation of highly potent and safe antimalarial drug qinqhaosu ( Artemisinin) from the Chinese herb Aremisia annua (Compositae) has intensified the search for alternative antimalarial compounds from plants. Artemisinin is used as an alternative in the treatment of drug resistant malaria, especially quinine resistant strains. The plants Abrus precatorius L. ( Papilioniaceae), Cassia abbreviata Oliv. (Caesalpiniaceae), Phyllantus reticulatus poir. (Euphobiaceae), Ximenia Americana L. (Olacaceae) and Combretum butyrosum (Bertol.F>) Tul.(Combretaceaae), used in traditional medicine in the Coast province of Kenya for the treatment of malaria were screened for antimalarial activity against P.Falciparum in vitro and for lethaality against tha brine shrimp (Artemia salina). The hexane extract of P. reticulatus showed the best in vitro antimalarial activity of IC50 value of 7.04gml and brine shrimp activity of an ED50 value of 32.49gml.Two compounds, a steroid and a stigmasterol were isolated from this plant p. reticulatus. Four compounds, hentriacontane, 28-Methyl-nonacosan-1-01, 3-Hydroxy-7-methoxy-2-(4-methxy-pheny)-8-(3,4,5-trihydroxy-6-hydroxymethyl-tetrahydro-pyran-2-yloxy)-chroman-4-one a flavone and 2,3,4,8-Tetramethoxy-6a, 11a-dihydro-6H-benzo[4,5]furo[3,2-c]chromene-&,9-diol a pterocarpan reported for the first time, were isolated from a.precatorius.