Native populations of South America have employed herb-based preparations for the treatment of parasite diseases. In this review, some examples of South American medicinal plants from which bioactive molecules have been isolated are presented. Results of our research related to the study of novel compounds with antiprotozoal activity are also presented herein. Peruvin and psilostachyin, two sesquiterpene lactones isolated from the Argentine medicinal species Ambrosia tenuifolia, presented significative in vitro activity on Trypanosoma cruzi epimastigotes and trypomastigotes. Psilostachyin also presented in vivo activity in T. cruzi infected mice. Both compounds were also active on Leishmania spp. The results obtained suggest that psilostachyin could be considered a potential lead molecule in the development of novel trypanocidal agents.
Colegio de Farmacéuticos de la Provincia de Buenos Aires