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African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines
African Ethnomedicines Network
ISSN: 0189-6016
Vol. 12, No. 4, 2015, pp. 1-8
Bioline Code: tc15067
Full paper language: English
Document type: Research Article
Document available free of charge

African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines, Vol. 12, No. 4, 2015, pp. 1-8

 en THE ORGANOLEPTIC AND MICROBIAL QUALITY OF SOME HERBAL MEDICINAL PRODUCTS MARKETED IN FREETOWN, SIERRA LEONE.
Kanu, Abdulai; Igbeneghu, Oluwatoyin A. & Orafidiya, Lara O.

Abstract

Background: The WHO has advocated for the integration of herbal medicinal products into the primary health care system of developing countries. Safety, however, is a concern to the drug regulatory bodies. This study was carried out to determine the organoleptic properties and the microbial quality of herbal products available to consumers in the Freetown metropolis of Sierra Leone.
Materials and Methods: Twenty herbal preparations purchased within the Freetown metropolis were assessed for taste, colour, odour, and pH. The microbial load and the presence of pathogens were determined. The residual antibacterial activity of two of the preparations that showed no microbial contamination was determined using the cup plate method. The ability of a combination of methyl- and propyl-parabens to prevent growth in some of the herbal products was studied.
Results: It was found that 80% of the samples contained mean bacterial and fungal counts ranging from 1.47 x 108 to 9.375 x 108cfu/ml and 3.45x108 to 1.6x109cfu/ml, respectively. The bacterial contaminants were predominantly Gram-positive organisms of the genera Bacillus and Staphylococcus. Escherichia coli check for this species in other resources , Salmonella check for this species in other resources spp. and Shigella check for this species in other resources spp. were among the isolated pathogens. Aspergillus check for this species in other resources spp., Trichoderma harzianum check for this species in other resources , Candida albicans check for this species in other resources and Cryptococcus neoformans check for this species in other resources were the predominant fungal contaminants. Two of the herbal samples from which no contaminants were recovered inhibited test organisms while the tested preservative system consisting of a mixture of methyl- and propyl-para hydroxyl benzoic acid in the ratio 2:1 and a use concentration of 0.2%w/v completely inhibited growth in tested samples.
Conclusion: The findings of the study suggest that many of the herbal medicinal preparations marketed in Freetown are likely to be contaminated with potentially pathogenic microorganisms. The microbial quality of these herbal products may however be improved by the incorporation of appropriate preservatives.

Keywords
Herbal products; Sierra Leone; organoleptic properties; microbial quality; preservatives

 
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