Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3693

Full Length Research Paper

Indigenous knowledge and antibacterial activity of selected herbs used locally to treat common cold in Central Uganda

Joel Walugembe
  • Joel Walugembe
  • Department of Biological Sciences, Kyambogo University, P. O. Box 1, Uganda.
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Jacob S. Iramiot
  • Jacob S. Iramiot
  • Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Busitema University, P. O. Box 1460 Mbale, Uganda.
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Esther Katuura
  • Esther Katuura
  • Department of Plant Sciences, Microbiology and Biotechnology, Colledge of Natural Sciences, Makerere University, P. O. Box 7062 Kampala, Uganda.
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  •  Received: 22 June 2016
  •  Accepted: 01 August 2016
  •  Published: 17 August 2016


The study documented the medicinal plants used in the treatment of influenza and common cough and established efficacy of some plants locally used against bacteria causing upper respiratory tract infections in Uganda. It involved an ethnobotanical survey and laboratory experimental investigation to determine the bioactivity against selected bacteria that cause upper respiratory tract infections. Data on medicinal indigenous knowledge was collected with the aid of questionnaires, direct observations, key informant interviews and field excursions and voucher specimen collection. The plants were identified by a botanist at Makerere University Herbarium (MHU), Department of Biological Sciences and voucher specimen were deposited in the herbarium. Methanol and diethyl ether extracts of the commonly used plants were screened for antibacterial activity against Streptococcus pneumonia and Klebsiella pneumonia using agar well diffusion and agar well dilution methods. Ethno botanical survey showed that 43 plants were commonly used and the most commonly used plant was Momordica feotida. Three out of four extracts assayed had activity against S. pneumonia and K. pneumonia, while one showed activity against K. pneumoniae. Hence, plants extracts showed broad spectrum antimicrobial activity. There is need for further development and standardization of products to treat respiratory diseases at household level in the study area.

Key words: Indigenous knowledge, medicinal plants, bioactivity, minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), upper respiratory infections.