Strychnos myrtoides is a much-branched shrub or small tree growing from 1 - 5 metres tall[
]. The bole can be 15cm in diameter[
The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine.
East tropical Africa - Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar.
Brachystegia-woodlands, open forest and savannah woodland; at elevations from sea-level up to 600 metres[
An infusion or decoction of the stem bark works synergistically with chloroquine in the treatment of malaria[
Two major indole alkaloids, strychnobrasiline and malagashanine, were isolated from the stem bark, as well as 4 minor alkaloids: malagashanol, 12-hydroxy-19-epi-malagashanine, myrtoidine and 11-demethoxymyrtoidine. These compounds showed no intrinsic antimalarial effect against a chloroquine-resistant strain of Plasmodium falciparum in vitro and in vivo, but significantly enhanced the effect of chloroquine. No cytotoxicity was observed[
A crude stem-bark extract also showed no intrinsic antimalarial effects, but significantly enhanced the action of chloroquine both in vitro and in vivo against a chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium yoelii strain in mice[
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