Traditional medicinal plants in the treatment of gastrointestinal parasites in humans: a systematic review and meta-analysis of clinical and experimental evidence

Sandamalie Ranasinghe*, Sasha Aspinall, Amber Beynon, Amanda Ash, Alan Lymbery

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
4 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Gastrointestinal (GI) parasites cause significant morbidity and mortality worldwide. The use of conventional antiparasitic drugs is often inhibited due to limited availability, side effects or parasite resistance. Medicinal plants can be used as alternatives or adjuncts to current antiparasitic therapies. This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to critically synthesise the literature on the efficacy of different plants and plant compounds against common human GI parasites and their toxicity profiles. Searches were conducted from inception to September 2021. Of 5393 screened articles, 162 were included in the qualitative synthesis (159 experimental studies and three randomised control trials [RCTs]), and three articles were included in meta-analyses. A total of 507 plant species belonging to 126 families were tested against different parasites, and most of these (78.4%) evaluated antiparasitic efficacy in vitro. A total of 91 plant species and 34 compounds were reported as having significant in vitro efficacy against parasites. Only a few plants (n = 57) were evaluated for their toxicity before testing their antiparasitic effects. The meta-analyses revealed strong evidence of the effectiveness of Lepidium virginicum L. against Entamoeba histolytica with a pooled mean IC50 of 198.63 μg/mL (95% CI 155.54–241.72). We present summary tables and various recommendations to direct future research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3675-3687
Number of pages13
JournalPhytotherapy Research
Volume37
Issue number9
Early online date25 May 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright the Author(s) 2023. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.

Keywords

  • Ayurveda
  • experimental studies
  • meta-analysis
  • natural medicine
  • parasitic infections
  • plant

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