Search for antibacterial and antifungal agents from selected Indian medicinal plants.
A series of 61 Indian medicinal plants belonging to 33 different families used in various infectious disorders, were screened for their antimicrobial properties. Screening was carried out at 1000 and 500 µg/ml concentrations by agar dilution method against Bacillus cereus var mycoides, Bacillus pumilus, Bacillus subtilis, Bordetella bronchiseptica, Micrococcus luteus, Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Streptococcus faecalis, Candida albicans, Aspergillus niger and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Twenty-eight plant extracts showed activity against at least one of the test organisms used in the screening. On the basis of the results obtained, we conclude that the crude extracts of Dorema ammoniacum, Sphaeranthus indicus, Dracaena cinnabari, Mallotus philippinensis, Jatropha gossypifolia, Aristolochia indica, Lantana camara, Nardostachys jatamansi, Randia dumetorum and Cassia fistula exhibited significant antimicrobial activity and properties that support folkloric use in the treatment of some diseases as broad-spectrum antimicrobial agents. This probably explains the use of these plants by the indigenous people against a number of infections.