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The realization that synthetic medicine, like antibiotics, has adverse effects made man recognize the importance of medicinal plants. Plants possess a wide array of secondary metabolites, such as tannins, glycosides, alkaloids, and flavonoids, that have antimicrobial properties in vitro.
Chromolaenaodorata or Wellawel is believed in folk medicine to have medicinal properties. The different parts of the plant, like the young leaves, mature leaves, and the flowers, were studied. The study revealed that of the three parts, the former two have the potential of becoming an antifungal agent against four species of fungi.
In the qualitative determination of the phytochemical contents, flavonoid was found in all the plant extracts, while tannins and alkaloids were both demonstrated in the leaf extracts. Of the six fungi, Candida albicans, Aspergillusniger, and Penicilliumnotatum were found most sensitive to the young leaf extract, mature leaf extract, and flower extract, respectively, with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) of 12.5mg/ml each. The MIC means that even at a low concentration of the extract, it is enough to cause inhibitory activity. However, the activity (3 mm each) is said to be resistant in terms of its overall effect.
The researchers utilized the Kirby Bauer Disc Diffusion method to determine the sensitivity of the six fungal strains against the different concentrations of the three extracts, and to the control groups. The study revealed that only the young and mature leaf extracts at 100% concentration have the potential of an antifungal agent against C. albicans, Aspergillusniger, Microsporumcanis, and Penicilliumnotatum. Both extracts have no antifungal activity against the other two fungi – T. mentagrophytes and C. guilliermondii. Likewise, the flower extract had no antifungal activity against all the fungi tested.
The researchers concluded that the ethanolic extracts of the Wellawel leaves are potential antifungal agents against the susceptible fungal strains. Finally, the researchers forward the following recommendations: (1) to test the extract with other fungal species; (2) to employ another solvent for extraction that could effectively extract all of the active substances present in the different parts of the plant; (3) to formulate a pharmaceutical product like an ointment or cream made from the Wellawel leaf extract as an antifungal agent; and (4) to encourage people to cultivate Wellawel in their backyard.