A Syrian Professor discovers Eggplant Calyx as the Newest Alternative Cure for Leishmaniasis Disease

Dr. Jamileh Hsaian, Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Damascus University speaks to Syria Times about her scientific discovery of a cure for Leishmaniasis diseases from Eggplant calyx.

Can you tell our readers about your life and study?

I was born in the city of al-Qunaitra in 1959. I studied till the 2 Grade in the city but after the Israeli attack in June 6, 1967, my family and me were forced to evacuate our hometown to the city of Damascus where I continued my school years.


In 1977, I started studying in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Damascus University. After five years, I graduated from the Faculty but I was nominated as a research assistant at the Faculty and continued my post-graduate studies in the Section of Industrial Pharmacy. I chose this specialization (Industrial Pharmacy) because after my graduation I trained in a pharmacy where the pharmacist was making drugs and medicines not only selling them.

Although I got a scholarship to complete my PHD in France, my family was not rich to support me to go to France. I am from a working class and I am proud of this. So, I continued my post-graduate studies in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Damascus University.

In 1990, I got my Masters Degree in Industrial Pharmacy and fifteen years later I got my PHD Degree in Industrial Pharmacy.

I spent a long time studying, about 15 years, waiting for the Faculty of pharmacology to open a new section for industrial pharmacy to complete my studies on an ‘internal scholarship’ in the Faculty of Pharmacy at Damascus University.

Nowadays, I am serving as the Dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy at Damascus University.

How did you get the idea of discovering a cure for Leishmaniasis diseases from Eggplant calyx?

For centuries, extracts from plants has been used as folk remedies against diseases. One of the important plants and herbal medicines is the eggplant, which has been studied widely. Avicenna, the Islamic famous scholar, used eggplants as a cure for hemorrhoids.

I got this idea and started a study of a new plant extract from eggplant calyx that had proven its effectiveness against leishmaniosis in vitro by achieving IC50 =39 µg/ml and the detection of some active substances in this wasted part (calyx ) of the eggplant (Solanum melongena L), which is a vegetable crop, consumed widely in Syria.

Many studies have proved the effectiveness of eggplant in the treatment of many diseases such as diabetes, gonorrhea, cholera, bronchitis, dyspnea, dysentery, debilitation and the treatment of hemorrhoids.

In 2016, I got eggplant from Damascus’ market and dried its calyx and kept it away from moisture. Three types of extracts (aqueous, ethanol, and methanol) were prepared.

In 2018, I produced a cream containing the herbal extracts and distributed it on 41 patients from the Dermatology Hospital in Damascus. The cream was applied through three methods (without injection, with Glucantime injection, with liquid nitrogen). The patients used the cream twice a day throughout a 4 -week treatment period.

I can say the result of the cream was great and all patients had recovered and achieved good result.

Photo: Shahid a child from the Governorate of Raqqa was affected by Leishmaniasis and used the discovered cream and today she has no effects on her beautiful face.

On March 4-5, 2020, I announced officially in a big conference my new scientific discovery of the Newest Alternative Cure for Leishmaniasis Disease from Eggplant Calyx.  

Where is Leishmaniasis spread in Syria?

Leishmaniasis is a tropical and subtropical disease caused by

an intracellular parasite transmitted to humans by the bite of a sand fly. It is spread in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, and part of South America.

Leishmaniasis is transmitted by the bite of female sandflies. When the sand fly bites infected skin it makes a pool. With their mouthparts, which have cutting and saw-like edges, they scratch the tissue of the dermis, which contains several macrophages full of amastigotes, and mix them with blood. By sucking the blood from these pools, they suck not only blood but also damaged tissue of the dermis containing macrophages with amastigotes.

Leishmaniasis is spread in northern Syrian governorates of Aleppo, Idlib, Hama, Raqqa and others.

According to the Damascus University -run Dermatology Hospital in Damascus, the number of Leishmaniasis patients who visited the Hospital in:

2007    747 infections

2008    825 infections

2010    940 infections

2017    1960 infections

2018    2503 infections:

2018 saw  the highest number of infections because many families were displaced from Aleppo and other northern cities to Damascus.

2019-2150 infections decreased because many displaced families returned to Aleppo.


Report by: Obaida al-Mohammad

Photos by: Mahfouz Abu Hadir