Antifungal activity of medicinal plant extracts; preliminary screening studies

J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Jan 4;115(1):140-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2007.09.014. Epub 2007 Sep 25.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: In the setting of HIV and organ transplantation, opportunistic fungal infections have become a common cause of morbidity and mortality. Thus antifungal therapy is playing a greater role in health care. Traditional plants are a valuable source of novel antifungals.

Aim of the study: To assess in vitro antifungal activity of aqueous plant extracts. The minimum inhibitory concentrations were determined for each extract in the setting of human pathogenic fungal isolates.

Materials and methods: Plants were harvested and identification verified. Aqueous extracts were obtained and antifungal susceptibilities determined using serial dilutional extracts with a standardized microdilution broth methodology. Twenty-three fungal isolates were cultured and exposed to the plant extracts. Five known antifungals were used as positive controls. Results were read at 48 and 72 h.

Results: Of the 14 plants analyzed, Fragaria virginiana Duchesne, Epilobium angustifolium L. and Potentilla simplex Michx. demonstrated strong antifungal potential overall. Fragaria virginiana had some degree of activity against all of the fungal pathogens. Alnus viridis DC., Betula alleghaniensis Britt. and Solidago gigantea Ait. also demonstrated a significant degree of activity against many of the yeast isolates.

Conclusion: Fragaria virginiana, Epilobium angustifolium and Potentilla simplex demonstrate promising antifungal potential.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Fungi / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Plant Extracts