Antimalarial Compounds from Traditionally Used Medicinal Plants
Parasitic infections caused by the protozoa Plasmodium are responsible for malaria, a severe disease with 300-515 million cases and that kills 2.7-3 million humans per year; a majority are children (<5 years old) in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world.1 More than 90% of the deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa. Four species of Plasmodium, namely, P. ovale, P. malariae, P. vivax, and P. falciparum, cause human malaria. The most virulent, P. falciparum, is responsible for severe clinical malaria and death. A dramatic increase in malaria is observed today resulting mainly from the widespread use of insecticides, which has led to the selection of Anopheles mosquitoes (vectors) resistant to insecticides, and the increasing prevalence of parasite resistance to the standard antimalarial drugs like chloroquine. This situation and the complexity in developing efcient vaccines require an urgent need for new antimalarial drugs to replace ineffective drugs.2 The struggle against malaria in developing countries, which is rivaled only by AIDS and tuberculosis as the world’s most pressing health problem, constitutes an important challenge for the twenty-rst century.