Antibacterial effects of some Cameroonian medicinal plants against common pathogenic bacteria

  • Moses N Ngemenya
  • James A Mbah
  • Pierre Tane
  • Vincent PK Titanji


We screened forty crude extracts of twenty Cameroonian medicinal plants commonly used to treat bacterial infections for broad spectrum antibacterial activity, as a more affordable alternative against resistant organisms. The extracts were screened on common pathogenic gram negative and gram positive bacteria initially by the disc diffusion method followed by the tube dilution method. Using discs containing 30µg of extract, Escherichia coli showed sensitivity to 23 extracts with diameter of zone of inhibition ranging from 7 – 19mm, fifteen of which were up to or > 10mm. Pseudomonas aeruginosa was sensitive to 11 extracts, whereas Salmonella typhimurium and Staphylococcus aureus were not sensitive to any of the extracts. Based on the zones of inhibition the activity of the extracts were equivalent to 30 to 138 % efficacy of the standard antibiotic discs. The lowest Minimum Inhibitory Concentration (MIC) recorded was 2 mg/ml for Euphorbia hirta against S. aureus and P. aeruginosa and the lowest Minimum Bactericidal Concentration (MBC) was 6 mg/ml for six extracts from Ageratum conyzoides, Aframomum citratum, Euphorbia hirta, Momordica charantia, Mangifera indica and Khaya senegalensis against three bacterial species. Three extracts had broad spectrum bacteriostatic activity (MICs ≤ 4 mg/ml) while in terms of MBCs none of the extracts showed broad spectrum bactericidal activity. We conclude that most of the tested plants used as traditional antibacterials have a bacteriostatic effect on gram-negative pathogenic bacteria.

Keywords: plant extracts, broad spectrum, bacteriostatic, bactericidal

African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines Vol. 3(2) 2006: 84-93

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eISSN: 0189-6016