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Braz J Med Biol Res. 1991;24(11):1113-23.

Antimalarial activity of crude extracts from Brazilian plants studied in vivo in Plasmodium berghei-infected mice and in vitro against Plasmodium falciparum in culture.

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Departamento de Parasitologia, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, Brasil.


1. Ninety-five crude extracts obtained with either organic solvents or water from 48 Brazilian plants or parts of plants were evaluated experimentally as blood schizontocides. Seventy-three extracts were obtained from 33 plants randomly collected using an empirical approach, and 22 from 15 "medicinal" plants. 2. The crude extracts were screened in vivo at up to 1.0 g/kg, po, for 4 days in mice infected with blood forms of Plasmodium berghei and parasitemia was determined on the fifth day. 3. Six plants, 2 randomly collected, Vernonia brasiliana and Eupatorium squalidum, and 4 "medicinal" plants, Acanthospermum australe, Esenbeckia febrifuga, Lisianthus speciosus, and Tachia guianensis, were partly active against the rodent malaria, i.e., they showed 40-50% inhibition of P. berghei multiplication. Forty-two plants whose extracts presented no antimalarial activity are reported. 4. Four extracts with antimalarial activity were also tested in vitro using P. falciparum cultures and two of them, V. brasiliana and A. australe, were active. Extracts of V. brasiliana caused about 50% inhibition of parasite multiplication at relatively low doses (40 ng/ml) as compared to chloroquine (30 ng/ml) and quinine (50 ng/ml). 5. The relatively high percentage of positive results obtained here for "medicinal" plants vs randomly chosen plants demonstrates the effectiveness of the ethnopharmacological approach to drug testing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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