Herbal medicines play a vital role in the treatment of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), especially in the remote areas of South Africa where clinics and hospitals are sparsely located. Aloe ferox and Withania somnifera are among the southern African plants commonly used for the treatment of (STIs). This paper reports on the in vitro antimicrobial activities of water and methanol extracts from the two plants on Neisseria gonorrhoea and Candida albicans, common causes of STIs in rural South Africa. Extracts from both species together with pure aloin from A. ferox, were evaluated for activity against six strains of N. gonorrhoea and nine strains of C. albicans. The extracts showed activity against N. gonorrhoea at concentrations of ranging from 0.5 (methanol extracts from both) to 10 (water extract of W. somnifera only) mg/ml while pure aloin inhibited the growth of both microorganisms. Only the methanol extract of W. somnifera was effective against C. albicans at a concentration of 20 mg/ml.
Key words: Antimicrobial, Aloe ferox, Candida albicans, Neisseria gonorrhoea, Withania somnifera.
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