Author(s): Toma A, Deyno S, Fikru A, Eyado A, Beale A
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Medicinal plants have contributed significantly to current malaria treatment. Emergence of resistance to currently available drugs has necessitated the search for new plant-based anti-malarial agents and several plant-based, pharmacologically active anti-malarial compounds have been isolated. This study was conducted to validate the traditional usage of Echinops kebericho for treating malaria in the traditional health care system of Ethiopia. METHODS: The roots of E. kebericho were collected from Masha Woreda, Sheka Zone. After collection, the plant materials were identified by a taxonomist, dried under shade and crushed to powder for extraction. The powdered roots were extracted by maceration using 70 \% ethanol. Acute toxicity study of the crude extract was carried out in Swiss albino mice. The in vivo anti-malarial activity of plant extract (200, 350 and 500 mg/kg) of E. kebericho roots against a chloroquine (CQ) sensitive strain of Plasmodium berghei strain ANKA was assessed using the four-day suppressive test procedure. Parameters such as parasitaemia, packed cell volume, body weight and survival time were then determined using standard tests. RESULTS: Oral administration of the ethanol extract showed significant (P<0.001) parasitaemia suppression at dose levels of 350 and 500 mg/kg in dose-related manner compared with the negative control. Five hundred mg/kg showed the highest (57.29±1.76 \%) parasitaemia suppression. The survival times of P. berghei-infected mice were also increased in a dose-dependent manner but the test material did not prevent weight loss associated with increased parasitaemia. The result also showed the plant material prevented the loss in packed cell volume associated with increased parasitaemia. Its oral LD50 was found to be greater than 5,000 mg/kg, indicating its wider safety margin in mice. CONCLUSION: The result revealed the ethanol extract of E. kebericho roots has anti-malarial activity against P. berghei in an animal model and lends support to the use of the plant to combat malaria in Ethiopian folk medicine. Further work is necessary to isolate, identify and characterize the active principles from the plant material.
This article was published in Malar J
and referenced in Biology and Medicine