The anti-leishmanial activity of methanolic extracts of Calendula officinalis flowers, Datura stramonium seeds, and Salvia officinalis leaves against extracellular (promastigote) and intracellular (amastigote) forms of Leishmania major were evaluated in this study.
In the first stage, promastigote forms of L. major, were treated with different doses of the plant extracts in a 96-well tissue-culture microplate and IC50 values for each extract were measured with colorimetric MTT assay. In the second stage, macrophage cells were infected with L. major promastigotes. Infected macrophages were treated with plant extracts. Then the macrophages were stained with Gimsa and the number of infected macrophages and amastigotes were counted with a light microscope.
The results indicated that the plant extracts inhibited the growth of promastigotes and amastigotes of L. major. Inhibitory concentrations (IC50) for promastigote assay were 108.19, 155.15, and 184.32 μg7middot;mL−1 for C. officinalis flowers, D. stramonium seeds and S. officinalis, respectively. The extracts also reduced the number of amastigotes in macrophage cells from 264 for control group to 88, 97, and 102 for test groups. Although the anti-leishmanial activity of the extracts were not comparable with the standard drug, miltefosine; but they showed significant efficiency in reducing the number of amastigotes in macrophages, in comparison with the control group (P < 0.001). These plant extracts had lower toxicity compared with miltefosine.
This study demonstrates the potential efficacy of the methanolic extracts of C. officinalis flowers, D. stramonium seeds, and S. officinalis leaves to control of cutaneous leishmaniasis.