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J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Feb 25;122(1):117-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2008.12.017. Epub 2008 Dec 25.

In vitro pharmacological effects of manufactured herbal concoctions used in KwaZulu-Natal South Africa.

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  • 1Research Centre for Plant Growth and Development, School of Biological and Conservation Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal Pietermaritzburg, Private Bag X01, Scottsville 3209, South Africa.

Abstract

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGY RELEVANCE:

Manufactured and packaged herbal mixtures, known locally as muthi concoctions, have become a new feature of traditional medicine in South Africa. These herbal concoctions are often claimed to cure several diseases ranging from minor illness to life threatening conditions.

AIM OF THE STUDY:

To document the prevalence, variety and evaluate the efficacy of selected herbal concoctions sold in KwaZulu-Natal.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

Nine herbal concoctions were evaluated for their effects as antibacterial and antifungal agents as well as their ability to inhibit the cyclooxygenase (COX-1 and COX-2) enzymes using standard in vitro methods.

RESULTS:

Imbiza ephuzwato and Ibhubezi, both multipurpose mixtures showed high abilities to inhibit bacterial and fungal growth as well as inhibit the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes. Umzimba omubi and Umuthi wekukhwehlela ne zilonda, both remedies for wounds, boils and chest infections were not active against the two Gram-positive and two Gram-negative bacterial strains tested. Vusa umzimba and Supreme one hundred were active against Candida albicans.

CONCLUSIONS:

Four of the herbal concoctions showed no activity in all of the assays tested while only two showed good activity. Activity cannot be ruled out as there are many mechanisms upon which natural products can act.

PMID:
19146944
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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