Healing Plants: Antibacterial, Antioxidant, and Medicinal Properties Explored

Greg Howard
22nd May, 2024

Healing Plants: Antibacterial, Antioxidant, and Medicinal Properties Explored

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study by Addis Ababa University focused on medicinal plants from the Dibatie district in western Ethiopia
  • Polystachya steudneri pseudobulbs showed strong antibacterial activity against both gram-negative and gram-positive bacteria
  • Gnidia involucrata stems and roots, along with P. steudneri, demonstrated significant antioxidant activity
  • The plants contained various bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, flavonoids, and tannins, contributing to their medicinal properties
Medicinal plants play a crucial role in healthcare, especially in rural areas of Ethiopia, where access to conventional medicine can be limited. A recent study by Addis Ababa University aimed to evaluate the antibacterial activity, antioxidant capacity, and phytochemical content of selected medicinal plants from the Dibatie district in western Ethiopia[1]. This study provides valuable insights into the potential of these plants in combating bacterial infections and oxidative stress, which are significant health concerns. The study focused on several medicinal plants, which were collected, shade-dried, and pulverized before being extracted using 80% ethanol. The extracts were then subjected to various tests to assess their antibacterial and antioxidant properties, as well as their phytochemical composition. The antibacterial activity was determined using the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) method, while the antioxidant activity was evaluated using the 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) free radical scavenging assay. Phytochemical screening was conducted using standard test methods. The ethanolic extract of Polystachya steudneri Rchb.f. pseudobulbs showed the most potent antibacterial activity. It was effective against gram-negative bacteria such as Proteus mirabilis, Salmonella typhimurium, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Escherichia coli, and Shigella flexneri, with MIC values ranging from 2 to 11 mg/mL. It also exhibited significant activity against gram-positive bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Streptococcus agalactiae, and Enterococcus faecalis, with MIC values between 3 and 16 mg/mL. These findings suggest that P. steudneri could be a valuable source of antibacterial agents. Additionally, the ethanolic extracts of Gnidia involucrata Steud. ex A.Rich. stems and roots demonstrated strong antioxidant activity, with 50% DPPH free radical inhibitory concentrations (IC50) of 168.68 and 181.79 µg/mL, respectively. The P. steudneri extract also showed considerable antioxidant potential, with an IC50 of 203.11 µg/mL. Antioxidants are crucial in mitigating oxidative stress, which can lead to chronic diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular conditions. The phytochemical analysis revealed that the study plants contained a variety of bioactive compounds, including alkaloids, anthocyanins, anthraquinones, cardiac glycosides, coumarins, flavonoids, phenols, saponins, steroids, tannins, and terpenoids. These compounds are known for their therapeutic properties and contribute to the observed antibacterial and antioxidant activities. These findings are consistent with previous studies that have highlighted the potential of medicinal plants in combating infectious diseases. For instance, a study on medicinal plants from the Gurage and Silti Zones in south-central Ethiopia demonstrated significant antibacterial activity of plant extracts against various bacterial strains, including drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus[2]. Another study evaluated the antibacterial activity of six medicinal plants against urinary tract infection-causing pathogens and found that methanol extracts exhibited potent antibacterial effects[3]. These studies, along with the current research, underscore the importance of medicinal plants as a source of novel antimicrobial agents. The current study also aligns with broader research on natural antimicrobial compounds derived from plants, which have shown promise in addressing the challenge of antimicrobial resistance[4]. The presence of bioactive compounds such as phenolics and tannins in the study plants further supports their potential as therapeutic agents, as these compounds have been associated with antimicrobial and antioxidant activities in previous research[5]. In conclusion, the study conducted by Addis Ababa University confirms the significant antibacterial and antioxidant properties of selected medicinal plants from the Dibatie district. The presence of diverse phytochemicals in these plants suggests that they could serve as valuable sources of bioactive compounds for developing new treatments for bacterial infections and oxidative stress-related conditions. Further investigations are warranted to isolate and characterize these bioactive compounds, which could lead to the development of new, effective antimicrobial and antioxidant agents.

MedicineBiochemPlant Science


Main Study

1) Ethnomedicine, antibacterial activity, antioxidant potential and phytochemical screening of selected medicinal plants in Dibatie district, Metekel zone, western Ethiopia.

Published 21st May, 2024


Related Studies

2) In vitro antimicrobial activity of plants used in traditional medicine in Gurage and Silti Zones, south central Ethiopia.


3) In-vitro anti-bacterial activity of medicinal plants against Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) causing bacteria along with their synergistic effects with commercially available antibiotics.


4) Natural products and their semi-synthetic derivatives against antimicrobial-resistant human pathogenic bacteria and fungi.


5) Phytochemical Screening, Antioxidant and Antibacterial Properties of Extracts of Viscum continuum E. Mey. Ex Sprague, a South African Mistletoe.


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