ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE : The investigated plant species are traditionally
used by Venda people of South Africa, in the treatment of malaria and associated
AIM OF STUDY : To evaluate the in vitro antiplasmodial efficacy and cytotoxic
properties of indigenous medicinal plants used by Venda people against malaria.
MATERIALS AND METHODS : In vitro antiplasmodial activity and cytotoxic properties were
evaluated on twenty indigenous plant species. Ground plant material was extracted
in dichloromethane: 50% methanol (1:1). Antiplasmodial activity was evaluated
against the chloroquine-sensitive strain of Plasmodium falciparum (NF54). The
cytotoxicity of the plant extracts were assessed against mammalian L-6 rat skeletal
myoblast cells. The selectivity index (SI) values were then calculated.
RESULTS : Of the 43 plant extracts evaluated, 10 exhibited pronounced antiplasmodial
activity (IC50 ≤ 5μg/ml) with good therapeutic indices (SI ≥ 10). Lipophilic plant
extracts were relatively more potent than polar extracts. Tabernaemontana elegans
Stapf. (Apocynaceae) and Vangueria infausta Burch. subsp. infausta (Rubiaceae)
extracts displayed significant antiplasmodial activity (IC50 < 2 μg/ml).
CONCLUSION : Findings of this study partly support the ethnomedical use of the
investigated plant species by Venda people as antimalarial remedies. The study also
highlights some of the knowledge gaps that require further phytochemical studies on
the specified plant species.