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J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Jan;64(1):15-22.

A search for anti-viral properties in Panamanian medicinal plants. The effects on HIV and its essential enzymes.

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  • 1Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Japan.


Aqueous and methanolic extracts of 39 Panamanian medicinal plants were tested for anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) effects. The extracts were tested for the inhibition of HIV-induced cytopathic effects in cultured cells, HIV-reverse transcriptase (RT) and HIV-protease (PR) enzymes. The water extract of the branches of Jatropha curcas (Euphorbiaceae) inhibited strongly the HIV-induced cytopathic effects with low cytotoxicity. On the other hand, the water extracts of the whole plant of Chamaesyce hyssopifolia (Euphorbiaceae), the leaves of Cordia spinescens (Boraginaceae) and the aerial parts of Hyptis lantanifolia (Labiatae), and the methanol extract of the aerial parts of Tetrapteris macrocarpa (Malpighiaceae) were potent inhibitors of HIV-RT (IC50: 6-8 microg/ml). Seven out of 39 plants were found to be moderate inhibitors of HIV-PR (IC50: 43-100 microg/ml). Furthermore, we report on the respective inhibitory substances of J. curcas, C. hyssopifolia and C. spinescens, and their possible mechanism of action.

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