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A search for natural bioactive compounds in Bolivia through a multidisciplinary approach

Thirty extracts of plants traditionally used by the Chacobos, a native community living in the Amazonian part of Bolivia, were screened in vitro and/or in vivo for antimalarial activity. Two of the four species designated as antimalarial, Geissospermum laeve and Maquira coriacea, displayed rather good activity, corroborating their traditional uses. However, they did show a rather high toxicity in vivo. Among twelve species used to cure symptoms relevant to malaria, five showed good activity: Apuleia leiocarpa, Bauhinia guianensis, Nectandra cuspidata, Sparattanthelium amazonum, Tanaecium jaroba. Two species, Qualea paraensis and Sclerolobium aff. guianense, used to treat scabies, showed interesting antimalarial activity in vivo; three other species (Iryanthera laevis, Prunus amplifolia, Pterocarpus aff. amazonum) used for various medicinal purposes, apparently not related with a Plasmodium infection, also showed antimalarial activity. Finally, one species (Derris amazonica) used as a piscicide displayed good in vitro activity, in the same way as one Annonaceae, Guatteria aff. schomburgkiana, used for construction purposes.