Washington, Apr 3 : A team of Indian researchers from the Burdwan University in West Bengal has found that extracts from berries of a weed, commonly used as an ayurvedic herb in India, has the potential to fight against mosquitoes that spread dengue fever.
The team discovered that Solanum villosum (S villosum), a member of the nightshade family commonly found in India and known for its medicinal properties, can effectively keep dengue mosquitoes at bay.
The team of researchers including Nandita Chowdhury, Anupam Ghosh and Goutam Chandra used juice and extracts from the berries of S. villosum, on Stegomyia aegypti, (S. aegypti), which can spread a number of viruses including dengue fever and yellow fever and is commonly known as the yellow fever mosquito.
The findings revealed that S. villosum could effectively destroy S. aegypti larvae.
The authors suggest that plant extracts from S. villosum have the potential for use in stagnant water where the mosquitoes breed.
"We found that these plants produce two types of phytochemicals. The most interesting are the secondary phytochemicals, such as steroids, terpenoids, flavonoids and alkaloids - these act as a repellent which protect against the lethal effects of the larval mosquitoes," said Chandra.
The researchers would be conducting further studies to identify the active compounds in the berries and to test whether these are effective in field trials.
The study is published in the online open access journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.