Philippine Tsaang Gubat (Ehretia microphylla Lam) and Ampalaya (Momordica charantia L.) Leaf Extracts Lack Amoebicidal Activity in vitro

  • Cecilia C. Maramba-Lazarte
  • Pilarita T. Rivera
  • Elena A. Villacorte
Keywords: Ehretia microphylla, Carmona retusa, tsaang gubat, Momordica charantia, ampalaya, anti-amoeba, antiparasitic


Background. Amoebiasis is a global health problem affecting poor regions in the world. Few drugs such as metronidazole are available to treat this disease; unfortunately, it is associated with several serious side effects. Tsaang gubat and ampalaya have been used by traditional healers from different cultures to treat dysentery.

Objective. The aim of this research was to provide evidence to validate the use of tsaang gubat and ampalaya leaf extracts for dysentery by determining their anti-amoebic activity.

Methods. The tsaang gubat and ampalaya leaves were sourced from the University of the Philippines at Los Baños and processed into a lyophilized aqueous extract. Anti-amoebic activity was determined in an in vitro assay using Entamoeba histolytica HK-9 strain against 10 dose levels (18-10,000 µg/mL). The amoeba and leaf extracts were incubated for 24, 48, and 72 hours. The trophozoites were stained with Trypan blue and dispensed into chambers of a Neubauer hemocytometer. The live trophozoites (unstained) were counted under a binocular microscope. The MIC and IC50 were determined. Metronidazole and DMSO served as positive and negative controls, respectively.

Results. Tsaang gubat and ampalaya leaves failed to show anti-amoebic activity and even had increased growth of amoeba at all dose levels. The IC50 of tsaang gubat and ampalaya leaf extracts were >500 µg/mL at 24, 48, and 72 hours. Metronidazole was able to eradicate the amoeba parasite at 24 and 72 hours, while exposure to DMSO did not result in inhibition nor death of the parasite.

Conclusion. Tsaang gubat and ampalaya aqueous leaf extracts did not exhibit any anti-amoeba activity.


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