Malaria remains one of the leading public health problems in Cameroon as in other parts of Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past decades, this situation has been aggravated by the increasing spread of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum
strains. New antimalarial drug leads are therefore urgently needed. Traditional healers have long used plants to prevent or cure infections. This article reviews the current status of botanical screening efforts in Cameroon as well as experimental studies done on antimalarial plants. Data collected from 54 references from various research groups in the literature up to June 2007 shows that 217 different species have been cited for their use as antimalarials in folk medicine in Cameroon. About a hundred phytochemicals have been isolated from 26 species some among which are potential leads for development of new antiamalarials. Crude extracts and or essential oils prepared from 54 other species showed a wide range of activity on Plasmodium
spp. Moreover, some 137 plants from 48 families that are employed by traditional healers remain uninvestigated for their presumed antimalarial properties. The present study shows that Cameroonian flora represents a high potential for new antimalarial compounds. Further ethnobotanical surveys and laboratory investigations are needed to fully exploit the potential of the identified species in the control of malaria.