To determine the potential benefits of nine medicinal plants used by the Samburu community for the treatment of tuberculosis.
The extract was tested against four strains of Mycobacteria namely; Mycobacterium tuberculosis
(Mtb), M. Kansasii
(Mk), M. fortuitum
(Mf), and M. smegmatis
(Ms) using BACTEC MGIT 960 system. The crude extracts were also analyzed for the presence of phytochemical constituents.
Both the extracts of Scadoxus multiflorus and Acacia nilotica showed strong antimycobacterial activity against the four tuberculosis-causing strains. Eurphobia scarlatina was the most active against both the slow (Mtb and Mk) and the fast (Mf and Ms) growers with Zero GUs at 0.5mg/ml. Phytochemical screening indicated presence or absence of tannins, saponins and flavonoids, terpenoids, cardiac glycosides and alkaloids in the extracts.
The data suggest that some of the methanol extracts could be a rich source of antituberculosis agents. The results further show that there is some merit in the use of some of the plants studied in alternative medical practice. Pharmacological and toxicological studies of the active plants are still under investigation.