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Activity of Herbal Medicines on Plasmodium falciparum Gametocytes: Implications for Malaria Transmission in Ghana



Type of Spiritual Experience


Khaya senegalensis is a species of tree in the Meliaceae family that is native to Africa. Common names include African mahogany, dry zone mahogany, Gambia mahogany, khaya wood, Senegal mahogany, cailcedrat, acajou, djalla, and bois rouge

Piliostigma thonningii is a species of flowering plants in the legume family, Fabaceae. It belongs to the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. Common names of this tree include camel's foot tree, monkey bread, Rhodesian bauhinia and wild bauhinia.

Cassia or Senna siamea (Thai: ขี้เหล็ก, khilek), also known as Siamese cassia, kassod tree, cassod tree and Cassia tree, is a legume in the subfamily Caesalpinioideae. It is native to South and Southeast Asia, although its exact origin is unknown.  It is a medium-size, evergreen tree growing up to 18 m with beautiful yellow flowers. It is often used as shade tree in cocoa, coffee and tea plantations. In Thailand it is the provincial tree of Chaiyaphum Province and some places in the country are named after it.

A description of the experience

PLoS One. 2015 Nov 12;10(11):e0142587. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0142587. eCollection 2015.

Activity of Herbal Medicines on Plasmodium falciparum Gametocytes: Implications for Malaria Transmission in Ghana.

Amoah LE1, Kakaney C2, Kwansa-Bentum B2, Kusi KA1.

  • 1Department of Immunology, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, College of Health Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.
  • 2Department of Animal Biology and Conservation Science, College of Basic and Applied Sciences, University of Ghana, Legon, Ghana.



Malaria still remains a major health issue in Ghana despite the introduction of Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) coupled with other preventative measures such as the use of insecticide treated nets (ITNs). The global quest for eradication of malaria has heightened the interest of identifying drugs that target the sexual stage of the parasite, referred to as transmission-blocking drugs. This study aimed at assessing the efficacy and gametocydal effects of some commonly used herbal malaria products in Ghana.


After identifying herbal anti-malarial products frequently purchased on the Ghanaian market, ten of them were selected and lyophilized. In vitro drug sensitivity testing of different concentrations of the herbal products was carried out on asexual and in vitro generated gametocytes of the 3D7 strain of Plasmodium falciparum. The efficacies of the products were assessed by microscopy. Cultures containing low dose of RT also produced the least number of late stage gametocytes. Two of the herbal products CM and RT inhibited the growth of late stage gametocytes by > 80% at 100 μg/ml whilst KG was the most inhibitory to early stage gametocytes at that same concentration. However at 1 μg/ml, only YF significantly inhibited the survival of late stage gametocytes although at that same concentration YF barely inhibited the survival of early stage gametocytes.


Herbal product RT (Aloe schweinfurthii, Khaya senegalensis, Piliostigma thonningii and Cassia siamea) demonstrated properties of a highly efficacious gametocydal product. Low dose of herbal product RT exhibited the highest gametocydal activity and at 100 μg/ml, RT exhibited >80% inhibition of late stage gametocytes. However inhibition of asexual stage parasite by RT was not optimal. Improving the asexual inhibition of RT could convert RT into an ideal antimalarial herbal product. We also found that generally C. sanguinolenta containing herbal products exhibited gametocydal activity in addition to high asexual efficacy. Herbal products with high gametocydal activity can help in the fight to reduce malaria transmission.



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