African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines

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Antimicrobial Activity Of Some Medicinal Plants Used By Herbalists In Eastern Province, Kenya

PG Kareru, AN Gachanja, JM Keriko, GM Kenji


The aqueous extracts from medicinal plants commonly used by herbalists in Mbeere, and Embu districts of Eastern province, Kenya, were tested for their inhibitory activity against three selected strains of bacteria. All the selected plant extracts (infusions: 1.0g sample in 100 ml water) investigated showed activity against Escherichia coli with inhibition zone diameters ranging from 5.8 – 18.0 mm. Terminalia brownii gave the largest inhibition zones against E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus. Vernonia lasiopus and
Tithonia diversifolia were inactive to S. aureus and Bacillus subtilis, respectively. Eighteen and sixteen plants showed sensitivity of greater than 10 mm against S. aureus and B. subtilis, respectively. All control discs gave zones of inhibition of 12 - 24 mm, which were larger than those of the extracts. The present study validated the use of the selected medicinal plants by the herbalists in the treatment of bacterial ailments caused by the strains of bacteria investigated. Medicinal plants used for non-bacterial diseases also
exhibited sensitivity towards bacterial strains tested. This implied they could be used as multi-purpose medicinal plants.

Keywords: Terminalia brownii, inhibition zone, aqueous extract, Escherichia coli, Kenya

African Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine Vol. 5 (1) 2008: pp. 51-55

AJOL African Journals Online