Journal article

Plasmodium falciparum growth is arrested by monoterpenes from eucalyptus oil

Vanessa Su, Drew King, Ian Woodrow, Geoffrey McFadden, Roslyn Gleadow



Cerebral malaria is a major health problem in the developing world. Widespread resistance to existing drugs by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum has coincided with an increase in mortality, particularly in children. One potential source of new drugs comes from plant natural products. We found that commercially available, pharmaceutical grade eucalyptus oil and its principal component 1,8-cineole inhibited the growth and development of chloroquine-sensitive and chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum. This was true both when the oil was added directly to the parasite cultures and when cultures were exposed to the vapours. The development of the parasite was arrested at the early trophozoite stag..

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Funding Acknowledgements

We thank Giel van Dooren for supplying the D10 parasites containing fluoroscent reporter genes and Kerrin Lee (Felton, Grimwade Bickford, Melbourne) for supplying the pure cineole standard. This work was supported by NHMRC and ARC. GMcF is an HHMI International Research Scholar and an ARC Federation Fellow. The Australian Red Cross generously supplied red blood cells.