Indigenous knowledge of traditionally used plants from Iran for fever/malaria treatment
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by several protozoans belonging to the genus Plasmodium but P. falciparum is the parasite that causes most severe diseases and most fatal cases. Unfortunately, in our days malaria still continues to be an extremely important threat to the health and economic prosperity of the human race, constituting a major cause of morbidity and mortality in tropical countries of Asia, Africa and South America. History shows that plants have been an important source of medicines against malaria with two of the major drugs used in malaria treatment, quinine and more recently artemisinin both having derived from plants. In this study five plants including Ficus carica, Otostegia persica, Otostegia michauxii, Glycyrrhiza glabra, Matricaria chamomilla [1–4] were selected on the basis of ethnobotanical investigation and searching in Iranian ancient traditional physician's books. The crude methanol extracts were prepared and tested for their in vitro activity against P. falciparum and for cytotoxicity against MDBK cells. Extracts from O. persica, O. michauxii and G. glabra showed antiplasmodial activity. The IC50 values of the most active extracts were determined as well as their selectivity towards P. falciparum in comparison to their cytotoxic effects against the MDBK cells. G. glabra showed better antiplasmodial activity than the other (IC50 value 17.5µg/ml against K1). No cytotoxic activity was shown by methanolic extract of G. glabra.
Acknowledgements: Research Council of Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Institute for Medical Research, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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