Efficacy of anthelmintic medicinal plants for the treatment of soil transmitted helminthic infections in humans: A systematic review

Blessing Silaigwana of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, conducted a systematic review of randomized control trials to evaluate the efficacy of anthelmintic plants in treating soil-transmitted helminths (STHs) in humans.


STHs are one of the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) infecting more than two billion people, especially children in impoverished settings where sanitation and hygiene are poor. The causative agents are roundworms (Ascaris lumbricoides), whipworms (Trichuris trichiura), and hookworms (Necator americanus or Ancylostoma duodenale) [1].


A systematic review of randomized control trials (RCTs) and quasi-RCTs evaluated the efficacy of anthelmintic plants in treating human STHs. An electronic literature search of the Cochrane central register of controlled trials (CENTRAL) and of the databases PUBMED and EBSCO was made [2]. The mainoutcomes extracted were on egg reduction rate, parasitic reduction, and adverse effects.

Results and Conclusions

The data suggest that anthelmintic plants are potentially effective in treating STH infections in humans. The results could thus have important policy implications for encouraging public health experts to consider integrating traditional anthelmintic plants into primary healthcare programs. However, it must be emphasized that as none of the studies were true high-quality RCTs, there is need for more higher quality RCTs to promote evidence-based healthcare.


[1] Keiser J, Utzinger J (2008). Efficacy of current drugs against soil-transmitted helminth infections: Systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of American Medical Association, 299(16), 1937-1948.

[2] Lopez DGD, Neyra LRS, Romero AJ (2001). Ascariasis: Comparison of the therapeutic efficacy between paico and albendazole in children from Huaraz. Rev Gastroenterol Peru, 21(3), 212-219.


Cheryl Nikodem, School of Health Sciences, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

Andrew Noymer, Advanced Systems Analysis Program, IIASA


Blessing Silaigwana of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is a South African citizen and was funded by IIASA’s South African National Member Organization during the SA-YSSP.

Please note these Proceedings have received limited or no review from supervisors and IIASA program directors, and the views and results expressed therein do not necessarily represent IIASA, its National Member Organizations, or other organizations supporting the work.

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Last edited: 18 March 2015


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