*Sulaiman Ayodeji Apampa, Abdulazeez Isah and Aisha Y. Lawal


Malaria is a major parasitic disease in many tropical and subtropical regions of Africa and some parts of the world. It is responsible for more than 1 million deaths each year in Africa. The rapid spread of resistance encourages the search for new active compounds. Nature and particularly plants used in traditional medicine are a potential source of new antimalarial drugs as they contain molecules with great variety of potency and pharmacological activities. A large number of antimalarial compounds with different structures have been isolated from medicinal plants and can play important roles in the development of new antimalarial drugs. Ethnopharmacological approaches appear to be a promising way to find plant metabolites that could be used as templates for designing new derivatives with improved properties. This review focuses on triterpenoids and their derivatives based antimalarial agents sourced from medicinal plants which are used in the treatment of malaria in Africa and other parts of the world. Their activity against malaria parasites in vitro and in vivo (using experimentally infected mice) ranges from promising and excellent to mild/low antiplasmodial activities. The search for new drugs based on medicinal plants is important due to the emergence and widespread of chloroquine-resistant and multiple drug-resistant malaria parasites with ACT which hitherto requires the development of new antimalarials. The use of plants as antimalarials may be a springboard for new phytotherapies that could be affordable and accessible in treating malaria, especially among the less privileged people living in endemic areas of the tropics which are vulnerable and at risk of this devastating disease.

Keywords: Antimalarials, Triterpenes, Medicinal plants and Malaria.

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