Ten herbs which are widely used in Ayurvedic system of medicine and are collectively known as “Dashapushpam “in Kerala, (India), were screened for their antimicrobial properties against nine spp. of pathogenic fungi and seven spp. of pathogenic bacteria. In the preparation of extracts, the entire shoot systems were used forCardiospermum halicacabum and Evolvulus alsinoides and only leaves for others. Crude plant extracts were prepared by cold extraction with acetone. Two sets of pathogenic fungi-Set-1 and Set- 2-were used with Nystatin and Amphotericin as standards, respectively. From Set- 1, all the extracts showed antimicrobial properties at least with two fungal species, the most commendable being the extract of Vernonia cinerea which was effective against all the fungal strains, outscoring the standard Nystatin. Only Ipomoea sepiaria and V. cinerea could inhibit the growth ofRhodotorula sp. Among the six extracts tested with Set- 2, only I. sepiaria and V. cinerea were effective which inhibited the growth of only one strain, in sharp contrast to the activity of the standard, Amphotericin which was highly effective against all other spp. The extracts of Aerva lanata, C. halicacabum and V. cinerea inhibited the growth of six, seven and four species of bacteria respectively. Results show that the herbal extracts involved are more effective against pathogenic fungi than pathogenic bacteria and throws light on the future prospects of plants as sources of potent antibiotics.
Key words: Antimicrobial, pathogenic fungi, pathogenic bacteria, crude plant extract, dashapushpam.
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