Ampelozyziphus amazonicus Ducke (Rhamnaceae), a medicinal plant used to prevent malaria in the Amazon Region, hampers the development of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites

V. F. Andrade-Neto, M. G.L. Brandão, F. Nogueira, V. E. Rosário, A. U. Krettli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Most medicinal plants used against malaria in endemic areas aim to treat the acute symptoms of the disease such as high temperature fevers with periodicity and chills. In some endemic areas of the Brazilian Amazon region one medicinal plant seems to be an exception: Ampelozyziphus amazonicus, locally named "Indian beer" or "Saracura-mira", used to prevent the disease when taken daily as a cold suspension of powdered dried roots. In previous work we found no activity of the plant extracts against malaria blood parasites in experimentally infected animals (mice and chickens) or in cultures of Plasmodium falciparum. However, in infections induced by sporozoites, chickens treated with plant extracts were partially protected against Plasmodium gallinaceum and showed reduced numbers of exoerythrocytic forms in the brain. We now present stronger evidence that the ethanolic extract of "Indian beer" roots hampers in vitro and in vivo development of Plasmodium berghei sporozoites, a rodent malaria parasite. Some mice treated with high doses of the plant extract did not become infected after sporozoite inoculation, whereas others had a delayed prepatent period and lower parasitemia. Our data validates the use of "Indian beer" as a remedy for malaria prophylaxis in the Amazon, where the plant exists and the disease represents an important problem which is difficult to control. Studies aiming to identify the active compounds responsible for the herein described causal prophylactic activity are needed and may lead to a new antimalarial prophylactic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1505-1511
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Volume38
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

Keywords

  • Amazon region
  • Ampelozyziphus amazonicus
  • Anopheles stephensi
  • Antimalarial drugs
  • Malaria
  • Medicinal plants
  • Plasmodium berghei

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being

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