The emerging resistance of Plasmodium species to currently available anti-malarials remains a public health concern, hence the need for new effective, safe and affordable drugs. Natural products remain a reliable source of drugs. Nefang is a polyherbal anti-malarial of the Cameroonian folklore medicine with demonstrated in vitro antiplasmodial and antioxidant activities. It is composed of Mangifera indica (bark and leaf), Psidium guajava, Carica papaya, Cymbopogon citratus, Citrus sinensis, Ocimum gratissimum (leaves). This study aimed at investigating the suppressive, prophylactic and curative activities of Nefang in Plasmodium infected rodent models.
Systemic acute oral toxicity of Nefang aqueous and ethanol extracts was assessed in mice up to a dose of 5,000 mgkg−1 body weight. BALB/c mice and Wistar rats were inoculated with Plasmodium chabaudi chabaudi and Plasmodium berghei, respectively, and treated with Nefang, the Mangifera indica bark/Psidium guajava combination and a Psidium guajava leaf aqueous extracts (75, 150, 300 and 600 mgkg−1 bwt). Their schizonticidal activity was then evaluated using the Peter’s 4-day suppressive test). The prophylactic and curative (Rane’s Test) activity of Nefang was also evaluated by determining the parasitaemia, survival time, body weight and temperature in pre-treated rodents.
Acute oral toxicity of the extract did not cause any observed adverse effects. Percent suppressions of parasitaemia at 600 mgkg−1 bwt were as follows (P. berghei/P. chabaudi): Nefang – 82.9/86.3, Mangifera indica bark/Psidium guajava leaf combination extract – 79.5/81.2 and Psidium guajava leaf – 58.9/67.4. Nefang exhibited a prophylactic activity of 79.5% and its chemotherapeutic effects ranged from 61.2 – 86.1% with maximum effect observed at the highest experimental dose.
These results indicate that Nefang has excellent in vivo anti-malarial activities against P. berghei and P. chabaudi, upholding earlier in vitro antiplasmodial activities against multi-drug resistant P. falciparum parasites as well as its traditional use. Hence, Nefang represents a promising source of new anti-malarial agents.
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