Canthium multiflorum (Thonn.) Hiern (Rubiaceae) is a popular herb used by traditional healers in western Burkina Faso. C. multiflorum leaves are widely used in decoction to treat malaria. The present study aims to evaluate its in vivo potential against malaria parasites in mice. The antimalarial activity of the organic and aqueous extracts of C. multiflorum leaves was evaluated on Plasmodium berghei Anka in NMRI mice using the Peters 4-day suppressive test. The fractions of the extracts were also tested. The acute toxicity study was performed according to Lorke method and sub-acute toxicity by Seewaboon method. Phytochemical analysis of extracts was carried out according to Ciulei method. The results showed that ethanolic and decoctions were the best inhibitors of parasites’ growth. The ethanolic extract exhibited an inhibition of 22.5, 30.8 and 81.9% at 100, 250 and 500 mg/kg body weight, respectively. While the decoction with water, an inhibition of 10.1, 25.9 and 74.2% at the same doses. Fractions’ extracts showed moderate activities at dose of 250 mg/kg bw. In addition, no mortality was recorded with the ethanolic extract. No signs of toxicity were observed in animals in the sub-acute toxicity study. The phytochemical constituents of the extracts were mainly steroids and/or triterpenes, flavonoids, emodols, carotenoids, coumarins, tannins, saponins, anthocyanosides and reducing compounds. Ethanol and decoctions of C. multiflorum leaves have been shown to have significant antimalarial activity in infected mice, with no toxicity. Phytochemical analysis confirmed the previously chemical groups found in the roots of the plant.
Key words: Canthium multiflorum, malaria, toxicity, Plasmodium berghei, in vivo, phytochemical.
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