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      Antimicrobial activity and brine shrimp toxicity of extracts of Terminalia brownii roots and stem

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          Ternimalia brownii Fresen (Combretaceae) is widely used in traditional medicine to treat bacterial, fungal and viral infections. There is a need to evaluate extracts of this plant in order to provide scientific proof for it's wide application in traditional medicine system.


          Extraction of stem bark, wood and whole roots of T. brownii using solvents of increasing polarity, namely, Pet ether, dichloromethane, dichloromethane: methanol (1:1), methanol and aqua, respectively, afforded dry extracts. The extracts were tested for antifungal and antibacterial activity and for brine shrimp toxicity test.


          Extracts of the stem bark, wood and whole roots of T. brownii exhibited antibacterial activity against standard strains of Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella typhi, and Bacillus anthracis and the fungi, Candida albicans and Cryptococcus neoformans. Aqueous extracts exhibited the strongest activity against both bacteria and fungi. Extracts of the roots and stem bark exhibited relatively mild cytotoxic activity against brine shrimp larvae with LC 50 values ranging from 113.75–4356.76 and 36.12–1458.81 μg/ml, respectively. The stem wood extracts exhibited the highest toxicity against the shrimps (LC 50 values 2.58–14.88 μg/ml), while that of cyclophosphamide, a standard anticancer drug, was 16.33 (10.60–25.15) μg/ml.


          These test results support traditional medicinal use of, especially, aqueous extracts for the treatment of conditions such as diarrhea, and gonorrhea. The brine shrimp results depict the general trend among plants of the genus Terminalia, which are known to contain cytotoxic compounds such as hydrolysable tannins. These results warrant follow-up through bioassay-directed isolation of the active principles.

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          Most cited references 17

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          Ethnobotanical and antimicrobial investigation on some species of Terminalia and Combretum (Combretaceae) growing in Tanzania.

          An ethnobotanical investigation on the medicinal uses of some species of Terminalia and Combretum (Combretaceae) was carried out in Mbeya, Tanzania during a 5-weeks field expedition. Of the sixteen species collected, Combretum fragrans F. Hoffm., Combretum molle G. Don., Combretum psidioides Welw., Combretum zeyheri Sond., Terminalia kaiserana F. Hoffm. and Terminalia sericea Burch ex. DC. have medical applications against various bacterial infections, such as gonorrhoea and syphilis, and against symptoms like diarrhoea, hypertension and even cancer. Antimicrobial screening of the crude extracts of the selected Combretum and Terminalia species was performed by the agar diffusion method. Among the most effective extracts were methanol extracts of the roots of Terminalia sambesiaca Engl. & Diels., T. kaiserana Guill. & Perrott., T. sericea Burch. ex DC., C. fragrans F. Hoffm. and Combretum padoides Engl. & Diels., all of which showed marked inhibition against Gram-positive bacteria, and were also good inhibitors of Enterobacter aerogenes. All four of the extracts of the roots of T. sericea tested, (methanol, ethanol, acetone and hot water) had good antimicrobial activity. A methanolic leaf extract of T. kaiserana was the only extract to have a bacteriocidic effect on Escherichia coli. Methanol root extracts of T. sambesiaca and methanol leaf extracts of T. sericea were the most effective against Candida albicans. The results of the antimicrobial screening support the ethnomedical uses of these plants.
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            Medicinal plants of east Africa

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              Some pharmacological properties of extracts of Terminalia sericea roots.

              Terminalia sericea Burch. Ex. DC (Combretaceae) extracts are used to treat bacterial infections, diarrhea, and diabetes. Intermediate and polar extracts of the roots exhibited antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Bacillus anthracis, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, while the petroleum ether extract was inactive. The extracts were mildly active against Bacillus anthracis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa but exhibited the highest activity against Staphylococcus aureus. They also exhibited antifungal activity against Candida albicans and Aspergillus niger. An 80% aqueous ethanol extract of the roots did not have any effect on blood glucose levels during an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT), in mice (P>0.05). With the exception of the dichloromethane and petroleum ether extracts, all the intermediate and polar extracts were toxic to brine shrimps giving LC(50) (95% confidence intervals) values ranging from 5.4 (3.5-8.4) to 17.4 (11.4-26.5) microg/ml, while that of cyclophosphamide, a standard anticancer drug, was 16.3 (10.6-25.2) microg/ml. Further work is in progress to isolate and identify active compounds in the extracts.

                Author and article information

                BMC Complement Altern Med
                BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine
                BioMed Central (London )
                30 March 2007
                : 7
                : 9
                [1 ]Institute of Traditional Medicine, Muhimbili University College of Health Sciences, P.O. Box 65001, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
                Copyright © 2007 Mbwambo et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                Complementary & Alternative medicine


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