New study shows Aloe plant’s efficacy in fighting malaria parasite

Posted on 16 February 2023 By Tsoku Maela

According to scientific researchers at the University of Pretoria (UP), an aloe could be a key ingredient in the fight against malaria. The experts were on a mission to find a drug that would prevent the transmission of the malaria-carrying parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, by disrupting its life cycle. The team focused their attention on the indigenous succulent aloe marlothii.

UP’s Deputy Dean of Research and Postgraduate Education at the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Professor Vinesh Maharaj, explained that the study was published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, and it investigated the effectiveness of the plant in eradicating malaria. ‘We’re undertaking a systematic study of most of our plants, our biodiversity samples in the country, and you know that South Africa has a huge biological resource in terms of its biodiversity plant samples around the country,’ Maharaj said.

The researchers found that the molecules in the aloe plant were unique and showed promising results in blocking the transmission and killing of the sexual phases of the parasite responsible for the spread of the disease. Maharaj added, ‘This is what we’ve been researching as part of the treatment of malaria, or trying to eradicate, is to find how can you stop the further transmission.’

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