Screening of selected medicinal plants for their antifungal properties
Background: The rising incidence of fungal infections has created the need for the next generation of antifungal agents, as many of the currently available ones either have adverse effects, or are not active against emerging or re-emerging fungi, leading to the fast progression of resistant strains. Objectives: This study aims at evaluating the antifungal activities of some medicinal plants used traditionally for treating skin infections in Nigeria. Methods: In vitro antifungal activities of seven indigenous plants (Leptadenia hastate, Lawsonia inermis, Hyptis suaveolens, Luffa cylindrica, Jatropha curcas, Pterocarpus erinaceous and Afromaxia laxiflora) were screened against Candida albicans ATCC 10231, Candida tropicalis ATCC 13803, clinical strains of Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum canis and Epidermophyton floccosum using agar dilution and micro broth dilution methods. Terbinafine and fluconazole were used as reference standards for comparism. Results: The results showed that the ethanol and ethyl acetate extracts of the plants produced better antifungal effects than the hexane and water extracts. Luffa cylindrica and H. suaveolens exhibited the strongest inhibitory activity against all the fungi tested with minimum inhibitory concentration values ranging between 250 and 1000 ag/mL. Conclusion: The plants screened could serve as leads for the development of new antifungal drugs.
Key words: Antifungal, agar dilution, micro broth dilution, minimum inhibitory concentration.