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Plants used by native Amazonian groups from the Nanay River (Peru) for the treatment of malaria

Aim of the study: In order to evaluate the antimalarial potential of traditional remedies used in Peru, Indigenous and Mestizo populations from the river Nanay in Loreto were interviewed about traditional medication for the treatment of malaria.

Materials and methods: The survey took place on six villages and led to the collection of 59 plants. 35 hydro-alcoholic extractions were performed on the 21 most cited plants. The extracts were then tested for antiplasmodial activity in vitro on Plasmodium falciparum chloroquine resistant strain (FCR-3), and ferriprotoporphyrin inhibition test was also performed in order to assume pharmacological properties.

Results: Extracts from 9 plants on twenty-one tested (Abuta rufescens, Ayapana lanceolata, Capsiandra angustifolia, Citrus limon, Citrus paradise, Minquartia guianensis, Potalia resinífera, Scoparia dulcis, and Physalis angulata) displayed an interesting antiplasmodial activity (IC50 < 10 g/ml) and 16 remedies were active on the ferriprotoporphyrin inhibition test.

Conclusions: The results give scientific validation to the traditional medical knowledge of the Amerindian and Mestizo populations from Loreto and exhibit a source of potentially active plants.