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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 905639, 7 pages
Research Article

Evaluation of the In Vitro Antiplasmodial, Antileishmanial, and Antitrypanosomal Activity of Medicinal Plants Used in Saudi and Yemeni Traditional Medicine

1Department of Pharmacognosy, College of Pharmacy, King Saud University, P.O. Box 2457, Riyadh 11451, Saudi Arabia
2Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Sana’a University, P.O. Box 33039, Sana’a, Yemen
3Laboratory for Microbiology, Parasitology and Hygiene (LMPH), Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences, Antwerp University, Universiteitsplein 1, 2610 Antwerp, Belgium

Received 28 January 2014; Accepted 30 April 2014; Published 21 May 2014

Academic Editor: José Luis Ríos

Copyright © 2014 Ramzi A. Mothana et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The antiplasmodial, antileishmanial, and antitrypanosomal activity of twenty-five medicinal plants distributed in Saudi Arabia and Yemen was evaluated. The plants were extracted with methanol and screened in vitro against erythrocytic schizonts of Plasmodium falciparum, intracellular amastigotes of Leishmania infantum and Trypanosoma cruzi, and free trypomastigotes of T. brucei. To assess selectivity, cytotoxicity was determined on MRC-5 cells. Criteria for activity were an μg/mL and high selectivity (SI). Seven plants showed interesting antiprotozoal activity in one or more models. Extracts of Caralluma penicillata and Acalypha ciliata showed fairly good activity against P. falciparum with IC50 of 6.7 and 10.8 μg/mL and adequate selectivity ( and ). Interesting activity against L. infantum was obtained with Verbascum bottae (IC50 of 3.2 μg/mL, SI 10.2) and Solanum glabratum (IC50 8.1 μg/mL, SI 3.4). The extracts of C. penicillata, Leucas virgata, Loranthus regularis, and V. bottae exhibited moderate activity against T. brucei (IC50 8.5, 8.1, 8.3, and 2.3 μg/mL; , 7.7, 4.3, and ). These results partly support the traditional use of some of the selected medicinal plants and warrant further investigations into the putative active constituents.