Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
, 10, 25

Native New Zealand Plants With Inhibitory Activity Towards Mycobacterium Tuberculosis


Native New Zealand Plants With Inhibitory Activity Towards Mycobacterium Tuberculosis

Emma A Earl et al. BMC Complement Altern Med.


Background: Plants have long been investigated as a source of antibiotics and other bioactives for the treatment of human disease. New Zealand contains a diverse and unique flora, however, few of its endemic plants have been used to treat tuberculosis. One plant, Laurelia novae-zelandiae, was reportedly used by indigenous Maori for the treatment of tubercular lesions.

Methods: Laurelia novae-zelandiae and 44 other native plants were tested for direct anti-bacterial activity. Plants were extracted with different solvents and extracts screened for inhibition of the surrogate species, Mycobacterium smegmatis. Active plant samples were then tested for bacteriostatic activity towards M. tuberculosis and other clinically-important species.

Results: Extracts of six native plants were active against M. smegmatis. Many of these were also inhibitory towards M. tuberculosis including Laurelia novae-zelandiae (Pukatea). M. excelsa (Pohutukawa) was the only plant extract tested that was active against Staphylococcus aureus.

Conclusions: Our data provide support for the traditional use of Pukatea in treating tuberculosis. In addition, our analyses indicate that other native plant species possess antibiotic activity.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Images of Laurelia novae-zelandiae (Pukatea) specimen located at Otari-Wilton Bush, Wellington. A, branchless trunk and canopy of Pukatea. B, plank buttress of Pukatea. C, examples of "toothed" leaves of Pukatea.

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 1 article


    1. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases NIoH. Understanding Microbes in Sickness and in Health. 2006.
    1. WHO. World Health Organization Report 2009, Global tuberculosis control: epidemiology, strategy, financing. World Health Organization; 2009.
    1. Wade MM, Zhang Y. Mechanisms of drug resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Frontiers in Bioscience. 2004;9:975–994. doi: 10.2741/1289. - DOI - PubMed
    1. WHO. World Health Organisation and the Stop TB Partnership. Building on and enhancing DOTS to meet the TB-related Millennium Development Goals. 2006.
    1. IUATLD. Anti-tuberculosis drug resistance in the world, report no. 4. 2008. International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease.

Publication types

MeSH terms

LinkOut - more resources