Tamarindus indica L. leaves are reported worldwide as antibacterial and antifungal agents; however, this observation is not completely accurate in the case of Cuba. In this article, decoctions from fresh and sun dried leaves, as well as fluid extracts prepared with 30 and 70% ethanol-water and the pure essential oil from tamarind leaves were microbiologically tested against Bacillus subtilis, Enterococcus faecalis, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium, Pseudomona aeruginosa and Candida albicans. Aqueous and fluid extracts were previously characterized by spectrophotometric determination of their total phenols and flavonoids, while the essential oil was chemically evaluated by gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy (GC/MS). Experimental data suggest phenols as active compounds against B. subtilis cultures, but not against other microorganisms. On the other hand, the essential oil exhibited a good antimicrobial spectrum when pure, but its relative low concentrations in common folk preparations do not allow for any good activity in these extracts.
Keywords: Antimicrobial; Tamarindus indica L; essential oils; flavonoids; total phenols.