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African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines
African Ethnomedicines Network
ISSN: 0189-6016
Vol. 2, Num. 2, 2005, pp. 129-133

African Journal. Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines Vol. 2, Num. 2, 2005, pp. 129-133

Research Paper


Temjenmongla and Arun Kumar Yadav*

Department of Zoology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong 793022, India Email:

Code Number: tc05015


The anticestodal efficacy of nine plants that are used in the indigenous system of medicine by Naga tribes in north-east India to cure intestinal-helminth parasitic infections was tested employing Raillietina echinobothrida, a tapeworm of poultry, as a model test parasite. The study revealed that the leaves of Psidium guajava, Houttuynia cordata and stalk of Lasia spinosa possess a profound anticestodal efficacy as evident by the mean mortality time of R. echinobothrida which ranged from 1 to 3.66 hrs, following exposure to 5 - 40 mg/ml concentration of these plant extracts. Moderate activity was recorded for the leaves of Clerodendrum colebrookianum, Lasia spinosa and Centella asiatica, while Curcuma longa, Cinnamomum cassia, Gynura angulosa, Lasia spinosa (stem) and Aloe vera revealed a negligible degree of anticestodal activity.

Keywords: Anticestodal Efficacy, Naga Tribes, India, Raillietina echinobothrida.


The traditional medicines hold a great promise as source of easily available effective anthelmintic agents to the people, particularly in tropical developing countries, including India. It is in this context that the people consume several plants or plant-derived preparations to cure helminthic infections (Akerele, 1990; Satyavati, 1990). The origin of many effective drugs is found in the traditional medicine practices and in view of this several workers have undertaken studies pertaining to testing of folklore medicinal plants for their proclaimed anthelmintic efficacy (Yadav et al., 1992; Roy and Tandon, 1999; Sukul et al., 1999; Al-Qarawi et al., 2001; Githiori et al., 2002; Tangpu and Yadav, 2003; Tangpu et al., 2004). Investigations on the anthelmintic activity of plants namely - Mallotus phillippensis lam, Cardiospermum halicacabum, Ocimum sanctum, Trifolium repens, have revealed them to be significantly efficacious against helminth parasites infections (Singh et al., 1997; Khunkitti et al., 2000; Asha et al., 2001; Tangpu and Yadav, 2004). In the present study we report the anticestodal efficacy of some folklore medicinal plants of Naga tribes in north-east India, using Raillietina echinobothrida, a tapeworm of poultry, as a model test parasite.

Materials and Methods

Preparation of Plant Extracts:

The plants that were tested for their anticestodal activity are listed in Table 1. The selection of these plants was made on the basis of information gathered about their use in the traditional medicine system by local traditional healers in the Nagaland state. The plant materials were collected from different places in Nagaland State and duly identified by Dr. Y. Kumar, Plant Taxonomist, Department of Botany, NEHU, Shillong. A voucher specimen of each plant was deposited in the herbarium collection at Department of Zoology, NEHU, Shillong. The plant materials were dried under shade, grounded into powdered form and extracted with ethanol and ethyl acetate (Curcuma longa) using Soxhlet extractor (Gafner et al., 1985). The extract was concentrated in vacuo and the residue was dried over anhydrous calcium chloride and stored at -40 C until use.

Testing of Plant Extracts:

Live specimens of adult R. echinobothrida were collected in 0.9% phosphate buffered saline (PBS, pH 7.3) from intestines of freshly necropsied domestic fowl (Gallus gallus domesticus L.). The test parasites were maintained in Hank' s solution at 37± 2o C inside an incubator. The plant extracts were dissolved in a few drops of 1 % Dimethyl Sulphoxide (DMSO), and tested at 5, 10, 20 and 40 mg/ml concentrations. In each case, a set of worms maintained without plant extract but having a few drops of 1 % DMSO in Hank's solution served as negative controls. The anticestodal efficacy of plant extracts was adjudged in terms of the motility and mortality of the test parasites and was monitored at regular time-intervals. The mortality of parasites was confirmed by removing the plant-extract treated/control parasites from Hank's solution and dipping them in slightly warm water. The mortality of parasite was assumed to have occurred when all signs of movements had ceased.

Results and Discussion

Table 2 summarizes the effects of plant extracts on mortality time of test parasite, R. echinobothrida. The worms incubated in the control medium showed physical activity for about 69.00 hours. The mean survival time of the reference praziquantel-treated worms recorded for 5 and 10 mg/ml concentrations was 2.34 and 1.67 hrs, whereas the same was found to be 1.34 and 0.84 hrs for 20 and 40 mg/ml concentrations. Out of different plant extracts tested, P. guajava, H. cordata and L. spinosa (stalk) showed a profound anticestodal activity as revealed by the mean mortality time of parasites which varied between 1.00 to 3.66 hrs as compared to the standard drug PZQ where it varied between 0.84 to 2.34 hrs. The extracts of C. colebrookianum, L. spinosa (leaves) and C. asiatica showed a moderate level of efficacy as adjudged by mean mortality time of parasites which ranged from 4 to 14.66 hrs (Table 2). However, the mean mortality time of test parasite in case of treatment with extracts of C. longa, C. cassia, G. angulosa, L. spinosa (stem) and A. vera varied from 6.00 to 67.00 hrs. In a related study on medicinal plants of Naga tribes, we also observed an equally comparable efficacy of leaf extract of P. guajava, C. asiatica and L. spinosa (stalk) against a filarial parasite, Setaria cervi (Temjenmongla and Yadav, 2003). In contrast, unlike in the present study the efficacy of H. cordata was found to be quite insignificant against S. cervi. This indicates that the anticestodal efficacy of plants differs with respect to different groups of helminth parasites. In conclusion, the results indicate that of the various plants used in folk-medicine system of Naga tribes to "cure" helminthic infections not all possess the anticestodal efficacy as acclaimed by the people.


Partially financial support under the University Grants Commission's DRS-III Programme in the Department of Zoology, NEHU, Shillong to carry out this study is gratefully acknowledged.


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