ABSTRACT: In our search for therapeutical alternatives for antiprotozoal chemotherapy, we collected a selection of 44 plants from western Colombia upon ethnopharmacological and chemotaxonomic considerations. Polar and apolar extracts of these species were examined for antimalarial activity using in vitro tests with two clones of Plasmodium falciparum. Leishmanicidal and trypanocidal activity were determined in vitro using promastigote and amastigote forms of several strains of Leishmania sp. and epimastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi. Among the selected plants, the 15 following species showed good or very good antiprotozoal activity in vitro: Aspidosperma megalocarpon, Campnosperma panamense, Conobea scoparioides, Guarea polymera, Guarea guidonia, Guatteria amplifolia, Huberodendron patinoi, Hygrophila guianensis, Jacaranda caucana, Marila laxiflora, Otoba novogranatensis, Otoba parviflora, Protium amplium, Swinglea glutinosa and Tabernaemontana obliqua. Cytotoxicity was assessed in U-937 cells and the ratio of cytotoxicity to antiprotozoal activity was determined for the active extracts. Ten extracts from eight species showed selectivity indexes ≥10. Among the extracts that showed leishmanicidal activity, the methylene chloride extract of leaves from C. scoparioides showed a selectivity index in the same range that the one of the Glucantime control. Several of the active leishmanicidal plants are traditionally used against leishmaniasis by the population of the concerned area.
Journal of Ethnopharmacology.