Chapter 6

Antimalarial Herbal Medicine: From Natural Products to Drug Molecules

Norma Rivera Fernández and Perla Y. López Camacho

Abstract

Malaria is still the most important parasitic disease in the world. Traditional medicines have been used to treat malaria for thousands of years and are the source of artemisinin and quinine derivatives. With the increasing levels of drug resistance, the high cost of artemisinin-based combination therapies and fake antimalarial drugs, traditional medicine has become an important and sustainable source of malaria treatment in endemic areas. The use of herbal medicines believed to have therapeutic properties is becoming increasingly widespread. These remedies are usually taken by patients on their own initiative without prescription from a physician. The discovery and use of natural compounds require a thorough investigation of their safety and efficacy before their release into the market because herbal medicines present the greatest risk of adverse effects relative to all complementary therapies. Nevertheless, natural products have been a major source of new drugs due to the high diversity of their natural compounds that often provide specific biological activities. In this chapter, we review the results achieved in the use of extracts, fractions and compounds obtained from natural sources that have antimalarial efficacy. We also provide a panoramic view of the updated literature on the challenges and strategies associated with contemporary antimalarial natural drug research.

Total Pages: 204-232 (29)

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