This study evaluated the antibacterial activity of some plants used in folklore medicine to treat diarrhoea in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.
The acetone extracts of Acacia mearnsii De Wild., Aloe arborescens Mill., A. striata Haw., Cyathula uncinulata (Schrad.) Schinz, Eucomis autumnalis (Mill.) Chitt., E. comosa (Houtt.) Wehrh., Hermbstaedtia odorata (Burch. ex Moq.) T.Cooke, Hydnora africana Thunb, Hypoxis latifolia Wight, Pelargonium sidoides DC, Psidium guajava L and Schizocarphus nervosus (Burch.) van der Merwe were screened against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, multi-resistant Salmonella enterica serovar Isangi, S. typhi, S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, Shigella flexneri type 1b and Sh. sonnei phase II. A qualitative phytochemical screening of the plants extracts was by thin layer chromatography. Plants extracts were screened for antibacterial activity using serial dilution microplate technique and bioautography.
The TLC fingerprint indicated the presence of terpenoids and flavonoids in the herbs. Most of the tested organisms were sensitive to the crude acetone extracts with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values ranging from 0.018–2.5 mg/mℓ. Extracts of A. striata, C. uncinulata, E. autumnalis and P. guajava were more active against enteropathogens. S. aureus and Sh. flexneri were the most sensitive isolates to the crude extracts but of significance is the antibacterial activity of A. arborescens and P. guajava against a confirmed extended spectrum betalactamase positive S. enterica serovar Typhimurium.
The presence of bioactive compounds and the antibacterial activity of some of the selected herbs against multidrug resistant enteric agents corroborate assertions by traditional healers on their efficacies.