In-Vitro Inhibition of Staphylococcal Pathogenesis by Witch-Hazel and Green Tea Extracts

Antibiotics (Basel). 2019 Nov 29;8(4):244. doi: 10.3390/antibiotics8040244.


whISOBAX (WH), an extract of the witch-hazel plant that is native to the Northeast coast of the United States, contains significant amounts of a phenolic compound, Hamamelitannin (HAMA). Green tea (GT) is a widely consumed plant that contains various catechins. Both plants have been associated with antimicrobial effects. In this study we test the effects of these two plant extracts on the pathogenesis of staphylococci, and evaluate their effects on bacterial growth, biofilm formation, and toxin production. Our observations show that both extracts have antimicrobial effects against both strains of S. aureus and S. epidermidis tested, and that this inhibitory effect is synergistic. Also, we confirmed that this inhibitory effect does not depend on HAMA, but rather on other phenolic compounds present in WH and GT. In terms of biofilm inhibition, only WH exhibited an effect and the observed anti-biofilm effect was HAMA-depended. Finally, among the tested extracts, only WH exhibited an effect against Staphylococcal Enterotoxin A (SEA) production and this effect correlated to the HAMA present in WH. Our results suggest that GT and WH in combination can enhance the antimicrobial effects against staphylococci. However, only WH can control biofilm development and SEA production, due to the presence of HAMA. This study provides the initial rationale for the development of natural antimicrobials, to protect from staphylococcal colonization, infection, or contamination.

Keywords: Hamamelitannin (HAMA); Staphylococcal Enterotoxin A (SEA); Staphylococcus aureus; Staphylococcus epidermidis; biofilm inhibition.