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Isolation, fractionation and evaluation of the antiplasmodial properties of Phyllanthus niruri resident in its chloroform fraction

The increasing burden of malaria has contributed significantly to poverty, decreased productivity and slow economic growth in malaria endemic regions. In 2010 alone, an estimated 655 000 cases of malaria-associated deaths were recorded, especially in very young African children. This trend is attributed mainly to growing resistance of the Plasmodium parasite to drugs like chloroquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine that were previously effective but are now widely ineffective. Parasite resistance to commonly used antimalarials such as chloroquine and sulphadoxine/pyrimethamine has also been found to confer cross resistance to other antimalarial drugs. Excessive and dysregulated inflammatory responses in patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) has also been linked with the development of severe forms of malaria exemplified by cerebral malaria, which accounts for 15%-40% mortality in such patients. Prompt and effective treatment remains the primary option for the management of malaria in tropical areas where the disease is endemic with high transmission rates. The World Health Organization currently advocates artemisinin derivatives and their combinations for the treatment of malaria. However, poverty in many developing countries, especially in Africa, puts artemisinin-based therapies out of the reach of many.