The protozoan parasites Plasmodium, Leishmania, Trypanosoma, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, and Trichomonas vaginalis, cause high morbidity and mortality in developed and developing countries. P. falciparum is responsible for malaria, one of the most severe infectious diseases in Africa. Hundreds of million people are affected by Trypanosoma and Leishmania that cause African and South American trypanosomiasis, and leishmaniasis. E. histolytica and G. lamblia contribute to the enormous burden of diarrheal diseases worldwide; trichomoniasis is the most common nonviral sexually transmitted disease in the world. Because of the important side effects of current treatments and the decrease in drug susceptibility, there is a renewed interest for the search of therapeutic alternatives against these pathogens. Natural products obtained from medicinal plants and their derivatives have been recognized for many years as a source of therapeutic agents. There are numerous reports about medicinal plants that are used by indigenous communities to treat gastrointestinal complaints. Importantly, phytochemical studies have allowed the identification of several secondary metabolites with anti-parasite activity. Our review revealed that Mexican medicinal plants have a great potential for the identification of new molecules with activity against protozoan parasites of medical importance worldwide and their potential use as new therapeutic compounds.
Part of the book: Natural Remedies in the Fight Against Parasites