In vitro immunomodulatory activity of plants used by the Tacana ethnic group in Bolivia

Phytomedicine. 2004 Sep;11(6):516-22. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2003.07.007.


One hundred and seventy-eight ethanolic plant extracts from the pharmacopoeia of the Tacana, an ethnic group from Bolivia, were screened for immunomodulatory activity using complement cascade inhibition and ADP-induced platelet aggregation inhibition assays. Six impaired both complement pathways (classical and alternative): stem bark from Astronium urundeuvea (Anacardiaceae), Cochlospermum vitifolium (Cochlospermaceae), Terminalia amazonica (Combretaceae), Triplaris americana (Polygonaceae), Uncaria tomentosa (Rubiaceae) and Euterpe precatoria (Arecaceae) roots. Inhibition of complement cascade was independent of essential ion complexation, and was not due to direct hemolytic activity on target red blood cells. For A. urundeuvea, C. vitifolium, and T. amazonica, anti-inflammatory activity relied on cyclo-oxygenase inhibition. Four of these species (A. urundeuva, T. americana, U. tomentosa and E. precatoria) are used traditionally to treat inflammatory processes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bolivia
  • Complement System Proteins / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Roots
  • Plant Stems
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / administration & dosage
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Plant Extracts
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Complement System Proteins