May 31, 2013 in News
A recent animal study has raised hope for a new cure for malaria, from extracts of Reishi medicinal mushroom. Could there be an end to this killer disease?
Malaria kills over a million people every year, many of them children. In 2010, the World Health Organization estimated there were 219 million cases of malaria. This mosquito-borne infectious disease has developed a resistance to some antimalarial drugs, so finding new cures are an urgent research topic.
In order to reproduce inside the host body, the malarial parasite Plasmodium needs lipids from the host. But how are the malaria parasites so successful in establishing themselves in human hosts? What source of lipids does the parasite thrive on? Researchers (Olarewaju Oluba, Augustine Olusola, et al) at the Joseph Ayo Babalola University, Nigeria, developed an animal study to monitor serum and liver lipid concentrations during the infection stage of malaria.
Reishi medicinal mushroom has been used in traditional medicines for over a thousand years. The Nigerian researchers wanted to investigate reishi’s cholesterol lowering properties, to see if reishi medicinal mushroom could prevent the proliferation of malarial parasites in mice.
Fruiting bodies of reishi medicinal mushroom were sorted, washed, dried, and then ground to a powder. 100 grams of this powdered reishi was soaked in 1000 ml distilled water, put in an orbital shaker for 48 hours, then filtered and evaporated.
Reishi medicinal mushroom has antimalarial properties
Mice were infected with the malaria parasites and given various doses of the reishi medicinal mushroom extract. There was a control group, too. Their liver, kidneys and cholesterol levels were tested.
The mice infected with malaria parasites had increased cholesterol levels. But there was a significant decrease in serum cholesterol in the mice treated with reishi medicinal mushroom. And with the control group given no reishi, the parasite count increased until the mice died.
In this animal experiment, the Reishi medicinal mushroom extract reduced the amount of malarial parasites in liver lipoprotein cholesterol. Could this medicinal mushroom become part of a new cure for malaria? More studies will tell.
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