Antibacterial activity of the roots, stems and leaves of Alchornea floribunda

X Siwe Noundou, R W M Krause, S F van Vuuren, D Tantoh Ndinteh, D K Olivier
Journal of Ethnopharmacology 2014 February 3, 151 (2): 1023-7

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Alchornea floribunda Müll. Arg. is used in traditional medicine across Africa for the treatment of bacterial, fungal, parasitic and inflammatory disorders.

AIM OF THE STUDY: To evaluate the antibacterial activity of the crude extracts of different plant parts in order to provide a scientific rationale for the proposed broad efficacy of Alchornea floribunda in the treatment of bacterial infections.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: Extracts of roots, stems and leaves were prepared using solvents of various polarities in order to extract a wide range of phytochemicals. The antibacterial activity of these crude extracts was evaluated by micro-dilution assay, against Gram-positive (i.e. Bacillus cereus, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus and Staphylococcus saprophyticus) as well as Gram-negative (i.e. Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Moraxella catarrhalis and Proteus mirabilis) bacteria.

RESULTS: Generally, the ethanol (EtOH), methanol (MeOH), ethyl acetate (EtOAc) and chloroform (CHCl3) extracts demonstrated the best activities, with the leaves exhibiting the highest average activity for six of the eight pathogens. Of these, the ethanolic leaf extract was the most active against Staphylococcus aureus with an MIC value of 50µg/mL. Some other notable activity was observed for the ethyl acetate and chloroform root extracts against Staphylococcus aureus (50µg/mL), and for selected stem extracts against Staphylococcus aureus (50µg/mL), Klebsiella pneumoniae (63µg/mL) and Staphylococcus saprophyticus (63µg/mL).

CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates the promising antibacterial activity of Alchornea floribunda against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria responsible for gastrointestinal, skin, respiratory and urinary ailments, and validates its use in the ethnopharmacology of the region.

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