Antifungal activity of Arctotis arctotoides (L.f.) O. Hoffm. and Gasteria bicolor Haw. against opportunistic fungi associated with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

Pharmacogn Mag. 2012 Apr;8(30):135-40. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.96564.


Background: In South Africa where many patients are immunocompromised as a result of the AIDS pandemic, opportunistic fungal infections such as candidiasis caused mainly by Candida albicans are common. Arctotis arctotoides and Gasteria bicolor are two plants which are frequently and commonly used in traditional medicine in the treatment of HIV patients.

Aim: The aim of this study was to investigate the antifungal activity of A. arctotoides and G. bicolor against opportunistic fungi common in HIV/AIDS patients.

Materials and methods: The agar diffusion and micro-dilution methods were used to determine the antifungal activities of the medicinal plant extracts against 10 opportunistic fungi.

Results: All the hexane and acetone extracts were active against at least one of the fungi with zones of inhibition varying from 8 to 32 mm, while none of the aqueous extracts was active against any of the fungi. The inhibitory activity of the active extracts, based on the overall mean inhibition diameters, was in the order: A. arctotoides (hexane) > A. arctotoides (acetone) > G. bicolor (hexane) > G. bicolor (acetone). The most susceptible fungi, based on the overall mean diameter of growth inhibition, were Candida glabrata, C. krusei, and Microsporum canis, while Cyptococcus neoformans, Trycophyton tonsurans, and Microsporum gypseum were not susceptible to any of the extracts even at 5 mg/ml which was the highest concentration used.

Conclusion: This study validates the use of these plants in traditional medicine in the treatment of secondary fungal infections in HIV/AIDS patients.

Keywords: Antifungal activity; arctotis arctotoides; gasteria bicolor; human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome; opportunistic fungi.