Plants native to the Mojave Desert may one day help provide relief to millions of people who suffer from two prominent tropical diseases.
Image of dotted dalea (Psorothamnus polydenius). Source: http://ww1.clunet.edu/wf/
Scientists at Ohio State University found that extracts of the dotted dalea (Psorothamnus polydenius) and the Mojave dalea (Psorothamnus arborescens) can kill the parasites, which are a kind of protozoa that cause the diseases leishmaniasis and African sleeping sickness. While both diseases are rare in North America, they are prevalent in dozens of countries worldwide, particularly developing nations. If left untreated, the diseases can be fatal.
The drugs currently used to treat both illnesses are costly and some are toxic, said Karl Werbovetz, a study co-author and an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at Ohio State. Also, the chance of these parasites developing resistance to these medications is increasing.
Karl Werbovetz | EurekAlert!
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