Antimalarial use of volatile oil from leaves of Virola surinamensis (Rol.) Warb. by Waiãpi Amazon Indians

J Ethnopharmacol. 1999 Nov 30;67(3):313-9. doi: 10.1016/s0378-8741(99)00072-0.


The Amazon Indians Waiãpi living in the West of Amapá State of Brazil, treat malaria with an inhalation of vapor obtained from leaves of Viola surinamensis. The essential oil obtained from adult and plantlet leaves was analyzed by GC/MS and 11 monoterpenes, 11 sesquiterpenes and three phenylpropanoids were identified. Plantlet essential oil caused 100% of growth inhibition after 48 h in the development of the young trophozoite to schizont stage and the sesquiterpene nerolidol (100 microg/ml) was identified as one of the active constituents (100% of growth inhibition was obtained). In addition, examination of [U14C]-glucose incorporation showed that activity of nerolidol is related to the inhibition of glycoprotein biosynthesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use*
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Humans
  • Indians, South American
  • Malaria / drug therapy
  • Oils, Volatile / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry


  • Antimalarials
  • Oils, Volatile
  • Plant Oils