In vitro Anti-Plasmodial and Cytotoxic Activities of Plants Used as Antimalarial Agents in the Southwest Nigerian Ethnomedicine


  • University of Ibadan, Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • University of Ibadan, Institute of Advanced Medical Research and Training, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • University of Ibadan, Department of Zoology, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • University of Ibadan, Department of Pharmacology, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • University of Ibadan, Department of Industrial Pharmacy and Pharmaceutics, Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Kings College, Department of Pharmacy, London, SE1 8WA, United Kingdom
  • University of Bradford, The School of Pharmacy, West Yorkshire, BD7 1DP, United Kingdom


In order to evaluate the ethnomedical uses of plants as remedy for malaria, in Southwestern Nigeria, six crude methanol extracts obtained from five plant species, identified and selected from ethnomedicine, were studied for in vitro anti-plasmodial activity and cytotoxicity. Method: The antiplasmodial properties were evaluated in vitro, using the lactate dehydrogenase assay against Plasmodium falciparum (multi drug resistant K1) and the cytotoxicity activities were assessed using KB nasopharyngeal cell line. Thereafter, three of the crude extracts were fractionated and subjected to activity studies. Results: Methanol extracts of three of the plant extracts; Cassia siamea stem bark, Tithonia diversifolia leaf and Cajanus cajan leaf, were found to display intrinsic anti-plasmodial properties with IC50 values of 24.9 μg/ ml, 52.9 μg/ml and 53.5 μg/ml, respectively. Fractionation of three crude extracts using organic solvents led to acquisition of twelve fractions, of which the ethyl acetate fraction of C. cajan displayed the highest activity with IC50 value of 15.6 μg/ml. The other active fractions were the aqueous methanol of C. siamea bark and ethyl acetate fractions of Gossypium arboreum, both displaying anti-plasmodial activities, with an IC50 value of 31.3 μg/ml. The crude methanol extract of T. diversifolia was found to be most toxic in the cytotoxicity assay, with an ED50 value of 3.6 μg/ml and least selective to the malaria parasites.Conclusions: The ethnomedicine of southwestern Nigeria could provide leads for the discovery of antimalarial drugs.


Anti-Plasmodial Activity, Cytotoxicity, Nigerian Ethnomedicine.

Subject Discipline

Pharmacy and Pharmacology

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