Antimalarial activity of some plants traditionally used in treatment of malaria in Kwale district of Kenya.
Rukunga, G. M.
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Methanolic and water extracts of five medicinal plant species used for treatment of malaria in traditional/cultural health systems of Kwale people in Kenya were tested for antimalarial activity against Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium berghei, respectively and for their cytotoxic effects. The most active extracts (IC(50)<10 microg/ml) screened against chloroquine (CQ) sensitive (D6) and resistant (W2) P. falciparum clones, were the water and methanol extracts of Maytenus undata (Thunb.) Blakelock (Celasteraceae), methanol extracts of Flueggea virosa (Willd.) Voigt (Euphorbiaceae), Maytenus putterlickioides (Loes.) Excell and Mendoca (Celastraceae), and Warburgia stuhlmannii Engl. (Canellaceae). These extracts showed various cytotoxic levels on Vero E6 cells with the water extract of M. undata exhibiting least cytotoxicity. At least one of the extracts of the plant species exhibited a high chemo suppression of parasitaemia >70% in a murine model of P. berghei infected mice. These results indicate that there is potential for isolation of a lead compound from the extracts of the five plants. W. stuhlmannii and M. putterlickioides have not been reported before for antiplasmodial activity.