Phytotherapy Research. 2020; 34: 15561569.

DOI: 10.1002/ptr.6628


Malaria is one of the life‐threatening parasitic diseases that is endemic in tropical areas. The increased prevalence of malaria due to drug resistance leads to a high incidence of mortality. Drug discovery based on natural products and secondary metabolites is considered as alternative approaches for antimalarial therapy. Herbal medicines have advantages over modern medicines, including fewer side effects, cost‐effectiveness, and affordability encouraging the herbal‐based drug discovery. Several naturally occurring, semisynthetic, and synthetic antimalarial medications are on the market. For example, chloroquine is a synthetic medication for antimalarial therapy derived from quinine. Moreover, artemisinin, and its derivative, artesunate with sesquiterpene lactone backbone, is an antimalarial agent originated from Artemisia annua L. A. annua traditionally has been used to detoxify blood and eliminate fever in China. Although the artemisinin‐based combination therapy against malaria has shown exceptional responses, the limited medicinal options demand novel therapeutics. Furthermore, drug resistance is the cause in most cases, and new medications are proposed to overcome the resistance. In addition to conventional therapeutics, this review covers some important genera in this area, including Artemisia, Cinchona, Cryptolepis, and Tabebuia, whose antimalarial activities are finely verified.

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