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Antimicrobial Activity of <i>Tamarindus indica</i> Linn

J H Doughari


Purpose: Tamarindus indica is a plant that is used in traditional medicine for the treatment of cold, fever, stomach disorder, diarrhea and jaundice and as skin cleanser. To evaluate the scientific basis for the use of the plant, the antimicrobial activities of extracts of the stem bark and leaves were evaluated against some common gram negative and gram positive bacteria and fungi. The study also investigated the chemical constituents of the plant and the effect of temperature and pH on its antimicrobial activity.

Methods: The phytochemical constituents of the dried powdered plant parts were extracted using aqueous and organic solvents (acetone and ethanol). The antimicrobial activity of the concentrated extracts was evaluated by determination of the diameter of zone of inhibition against both gram negative and gram positive bacteria and fungi using the paper disc diffusion method.

Results: Results of the phytochemical studies revealed the presence of tannins, saponins, sesquiterpenes, alkaloids and phlobatamins and the extracts were active against both gram positive and gram negative bacteria. The activity of the plant extracts were not affected when treated at different temperature ranges (4oC, 30oC, 60oC and 100oC), but was reduced at alkaline pH. Studies on the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) and minimum bactericidal concentration (MBC) of the extracts on the test organisms showed that the lowest MIC and the MBC were demonstrated against Salmonella paratyphi, Bacillus subtilis and Salmonella typhi and the highest MIC and MBC was exhibited against Staphylococcus aureus.

Conclusions: Tamarindus indica has broad spectrum antibacterial activity and a potential source of new classes of antibiotics that could be useful for infectious disease chemotherapy and control.

Keywords: Tamarindus indica, Antimicrobial activity, minimum inhibitory concentration, minimum bactericidal concentration, chemotherapy, infectious disease.

> Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research Vol. 5 (2) 2006: pp. 597-603

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eISSN: 1596-9827
print ISSN: 1596-5996