Antibacterial, anthelmintic and anti-amoebic activity in South African medicinal plants

J Ethnopharmacol. 2000 Sep;72(1-2):247-63. doi: 10.1016/s0378-8741(00)00269-5.


Hexane, ethanol and water extracts of plants used by South African traditional healers for treating stomach ailments were screened for antibacterial, anthelmintic and anti-amoebic activities. To evaluate antibacterial activity, the disc-diffusion assay was used against several Gram-positive and Gram-negative species. Minimal inhibitory concentration values were determined with a microdilution assay. Ethanolic extracts showed the greatest activity, and Gram-positive bacteria were the most susceptible microorganisms. The free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans was used in two different assays to evaluate anthelmintic activity. A microdilution technique was employed to investigate anti-amoebic activity against the enteropathogenic Entamoeba histolytica. These assays were suitable for the screening of a large number of extracts at one time. Several plants exhibited significant activity against these test organisms.

MeSH terms

  • Amebicides / isolation & purification
  • Amebicides / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Anthelmintics / isolation & purification
  • Anthelmintics / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antinematodal Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antinematodal Agents / toxicity
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / drug effects
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Entamoeba histolytica / drug effects
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • South Africa


  • Amebicides
  • Anthelmintics
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Antinematodal Agents
  • Plant Extracts