Anti-mycobacterial efficacy of selected medicinal plants used by herbal practitioners in Kisii to treat tuberculosis.
Amboga, Enock Bichang'a
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Tuberculosis (TB) is a global problem of staggering proportions. It is known to be a poverty related disease affecting millions of people in the world's poorest countries. Tuberculosis is difficult and expensive to control. Due to emerging resistance or the bacterium to available drugs, there is need 10r renewed strategies 011 treatment and prevention, hence development of new antimicrobials. The search for effective drugs lor Mycobacterium is paramount. Mycobacterium infections especially those caused by Mycobacterium fortuitum, M. avium complex, M. clielonae and M. tuberculosis have increased in patients with Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Infections caused by these bacteria, especially Mycobacterium avium complex are difficult to treat because the bacteria are resistant to multiple drugs. It is however, noted that a large proportion of the Kenyan population is using herbal medicine to combat several ailments including tuberculosis. Unfortunately scientific data to support the efficacy of herbal preparations is insufficient. This study surveyed plants used by Abagusii traditional medical Pl\~ctitioners to treat TB. Six plants from the survey reputed tobe WidelY.used in the treatm nt of TB were selected, botanically identi fied as Spermacoce princeae, Warburgia gandensis, Solanum aculeastrum, Carissa edulis, Synadenium glaucescens and Toddalia asiatica and were tested for anti-mycobacterial activities. The various plant parts (roots, stems, leaves and flowers) were dried in the shade and ground to powder, which was stored in sterilized sample bottles. Extraction in Erlen Meyer flasks was done using cold water, hexane, chloroform and methanol. The extracts were tested against Mycobacterium tuberculosis strain provided by the Nairobi Hospital, known to be resistant 10 rifampicin, streptomycin and isoniazid. The plants found to have active antimycobactrial agents, were assayed further for identification of compounds to be used in treatment of tuberculosis. The Growth Index (G.!) of Mycobacterium tuberculosis ill the various extracts were determined and used as a measure or efficacy. The plants with active antimycobacterial extracts were screened for phytochemical compounds with medicinal values used for treatment of TB. Extracts of Synadeuium glaucesccus, Warburgia ugandensis, Carissa edulis and Toddalia asiatica registered activity at 2 mg/ml. Methanolic extracts had a p value of 0.048 hence more effective in extracting the antimycobacterial compounds from plant materials. Toddalia asiatica methanolic crude extract was the most active extract against Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Since Toddalia asiatica registered impressive activity further research on cytotoxicity and in vivo activity should be carried out. It is also important to formulate capsules of tablets from the extracts. This type of identification of secondary metabolites produced by plants with antimycobacterial activities will enhance the search Ior efficacious anti – tuberculosis agents.