Assessment of traditional medicinal application of Alchornea cordifolia
Ethanol and expressed extracts of the leaves of the shrub Alchornea cordifolia were prepared for testing their antibacterial activity using Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus as test organisms. The broad-spectrum antibiotic Ampiclox was used in a 1:1 dilution to provide approximate bases for comparison of the antibacterial activity of the extracts. Indication was that the ethanol extract had a significantly higher inhibitory zone in all the tests against E. coli (P ≤ 0.001) ranging from 53.4 (± 4.8) to 30.4 (± 2.8) mm; this was followed by the expressed extract (the form in which A. cordifolia is used traditionally for treating fresh wounds). Interestingly, for activity against S. aureus, it was the expressed extract that exhibited the higher inhibitory zone (P ≤ 0.001) ranging from 12.6 (± 4.8) to 6.3 (± 1.8) mm. All the extracts showed higher activity than the diluted Ampiclox activity. The study albeit further detailed assessments, appears to have justified the various traditional applications of A. cordifolia in the cure of some of the illnesses.
Key words: Alchornea cordifolia, susceptibility, antibacterial, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, traditional medicine.