Antituberculosis potential of some ethnobotanically selected Malaysian plants

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Feb 16;133(3):1021-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2010.11.037. Epub 2010 Nov 19.


Aim of the study: Many local plants are used in Malaysian traditional medicine to treat respiratory diseases including symptoms of tuberculosis. The aim of the study was to screen 78 plant extracts from 70 Malaysian plant species used in traditional medicine to treat respiratory diseases including symptoms of tuberculosis for activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis H37Rv using a colorimetric microplate-based assay.

Materials and methods: Plant extracts were prepared by maceration in methanol (80%) and antituberculosis screening was carried out using Tetrazolium bromide microplate assay (TEMA) method to determine the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC).

Results: Thirty-eight plant extracts from 36 plant species exhibited antituberculosis activity with MICs in the range of 1600-400 μg/ml. The leaf extract of Angiopteris evecta exhibited the highest activity with MIC of 400 μg/ml. Five other extracts, namely, Costus speciosus (stem and flower), Piper sarmentosum (whole plant), Pluchea indica (leaf), Pluchea indica (flower), and Tabernaemontana coronaria (leaf) exhibited antituberculosis activity, each with MIC of 800 μg/ml. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of in vitro high throughput screening of Malaysian medicinal plants for antituberculosis activity.

Conclusions: Antituberculosis activity of extracts of some plants justifies, to a certain extent their ethnomedicinal uses as remedies for symptoms of tuberculosis. These results also support the general view that, selecting the plants based on ethnobotanical criteria would enhance the probability of finding species with antituberculosis activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Malaysia
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*


  • Antitubercular Agents
  • Plant Extracts