Activity profiles of fourteen selected medicinal plants from Rural Venda communities in South Africa against fifteen clinical bacterial species

  • A Samie
  • CL Obi
  • PO Bessong
  • L Namrita
Keywords: Bacteria, Disc diffusion, Medicinal plants, Microdilution, South Africa, Venda


Fourteen plants used in traditional medicine in the Venda region of South Africa were screened for activity against fifteen bacterial species. Methanol, acetone and hexane extracts and in some cases essential oils were tested using the disc diffusion and the microdilution methods. Most of the extracts
were active against at least one bacterial species. Methanol and acetone extracts were the most active while Gram positive bacteria were the most sensitive as compared to Gram negative bacteria. This study has revealed the strong in vitro activity of Syzigium cordatum, Peltophorum africanum,
Rhoicissus tridentata, Bridelia micrantha and Ximenia caffra against Gram positive and Gram negative bacteria. Essential oils of Lippia javanica was also effective against most of the bacterial species studied. However, Pouzolzia mixta and Mucuna coriaceae showed less activity. Some plants were more active than commercial antibiotics. This study is the first to test the activity of the selected plants from the Venda region against such number of bacterial isolates and justifies their use by local traditional healers. The identification of the active components of the plants and the determination of the effect of these plants on the immune system will give more information on their activity. Finally, these results may be of importance in identifying candidate plants and essential oils for eventual drug design and other therapeutic purposes, respectively.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5315