Anti-Malarial Drug Resistance: Need for Novel Natural Products

Anti-Malarial Drug Resistance: Need for Novel Natural Products

Manish Kumar Dwivedi (Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Amarkantak, India) and Prashant Kumar Singh (Indira Gandhi National Tribal University Amarkantak, India)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2094-9.ch008

Abstract

Malaria is a life-threatening infectious disease caused by a protozoan parasite of the genus Plasmodium. It is transmitted through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. The global burden is estimated to be around 219 million cases in 87 countries. Natural compounds have been used primarily in the traditional medicine for thousands of years. For the treatment of malaria, natural products were used until the development of synthetic drugs, and most of the currently available anti-malarial drugs have been derived based on the compounds from these traditional medicinal plants. The current chapter tries to briefly indicate the emerging resistance against anti-malarial drugs and to discuss the recent research on natural products that have been evaluated for anti-malarial activity. Rigorous evaluation of the efficacy and safety of traditional medicines is required along with identification of active constituents in order to develop new drugs with novel mechanisms of action.
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Herbal Medicine

Natural products are a large assemblage of diverse secondary metabolites with widespread biological activities and are usually obtained from plants, marine animals and microorganisms. These compounds are widely used as medicines, flavoring agents, or recreational drugs. Naturally these secondary metabolites are produced for self-defense, protection, competition, and species interactions (Demain, 2014).

Since prehistoric times, mankind is using medicinal plants for basic preventive and therapeutic health care. This form of knowledge known as “the traditional system of medicine” contains information about a large reservoir of herbal formulations and medicinal plants. Principles developed over the life time in different cultures are used in prophylactic, diagnostic or therapeutic purposes (Sen & Chakroborty, 2015). As per World Health Organization (WHO), around 80% of the global population depends on traditional medicine or drugs obtained from the natural world (WHO, 2002). Adverse effects can be observed if traditional medicines or practices are followed improperly as minor changes in the concentration of metabolites can lead to altered activities (Sen & Chakroborty, 2015). Modern healthcare system finds its roots in the plant based medicines. In countries like United States, one of the four allopathic prescriptions are either purified from plants or synthesized based on plant molecules (Mazid et al., 2012). With the increasing population, allopathic medicines are out of reach from a large section of the communities living in rural and remote areas of the country due to high prices and their side effects. These parameters have led to the increase in popularity of alternative medicines especially among rural, tribal and remote populations.

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