The bioactivity of an ethyl acetate extract of ginger (Zingiber officinale) towards Schistosoma mansoni adult pairs, both cultured in vitro and in vivo in laboratory mice, was investigated by monitoring worm mortality and fecundity. In vitro, a concentration of 200 mg l-1 of extract killed almost all worms within 24 h. Male worms seemed more susceptible than female under these conditions. Cumulative egg output of surviving worm pairs in vitro was considerably reduced when exposed to the extract. For example, after 4 days of exposure to 50 mg l-1, cumulative egg output was only 0.38 eggs per worm pair compared with 36.35 for untreated worms. In vivo efficacy of the extract was tested by oral and subcutaneous delivery of 150 mg kg-1 followed by assessment of worm survival and fecundity. Neither delivery route produced any significant reduction in worm numbers compared with untreated controls. Worm fecundity was assessed in vivo by cumulative egg counts per liver at 55 days post infection with mice treated subcutaneously. Such infections showed egg levels in the liver of about 2000 eggs per worm pair in 55 days, in both treated and control mice, with no significant difference between the two groups. To ensure that density-dependent effects did not confound this analysis, a separate experiment demonstrated no such influence on egg output per worm pair, at intensities between 1 and 23 worms per mouse.
(Accepted January 04 2002)