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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2013, Article ID 840719, 8 pages
Research Article

In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Extracts from Plants Used Traditionally in South Africa to Treat Tuberculosis and Related Symptoms

Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa

Received 12 November 2012; Accepted 23 January 2013

Academic Editor: Seong-Gyu Ko

Copyright © 2013 Balungile Madikizela et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Respiratory ailments are major human killers, especially in developing countries. Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease causing a threat to human healthcare. Many South African plants are used in the traditional treatment of TB and related symptoms, but there has not been a sufficient focus on evaluating their antimicrobial properties. The aim of this study was to evaluate the antimicrobial properties of plants used traditionally to treat TB and related symptoms against microorganisms (Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphylococcus aureus, and Mycobacterium aurum A+) associated with respiratory infections using the microdilution assay. Ten plants were selected based on a survey of available literature of medicinal plants used in South Africa for the treatment of TB and related symptoms. The petroleum ether, dichloromethane, 80% ethanol, and water extracts of the selected plants were evaluated for antibacterial activity. Out of 68 extracts tested from different parts of the 10 plant species, 17 showed good antimicrobial activities against at least one or more of the microbial strains tested, with minimum inhibitory concentration ranging from 0.195 to 12.5 mg/mL. The good antimicrobial properties of Abrus precatorius, Terminalia phanerophlebia, Indigofera arrecta, and Pentanisia prunelloides authenticate their traditional use in the treatment of respiratory diseases. Thus, further pharmacological and phytochemical analysis is required.