Most communities in developing countries rely on traditional medicines for the treatment of diseases. In South Africa, the Limpopo province, within the Lebowakgomo district, uses tuberous roots of Kirkia wilmsii, after infusion in water for the treatment of a wide range of diseases by Sotho communities.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
The main objective of the study was to assess the anti-microbial activity of separated aqueous components of the Kirkia wilmsii tuberous roots. The clear aqueous extracts that were obtained after a 0.45 µm membrane filtration (Millipore Millex-HV Hydrophillic PVDF filter), were then injected into a preparative high performance liquid chromatography instrument in which pure components, as shown by peaks, were collected and evaluated for anti-microbial activity against a range of microorganisms.
The eight separated components were obtained, out of which four components showed anti-microbial activity (AMA). The freeze dried components were re-dissolved in deionised water and then evaluated for AMA against Vibrio cholerae, Shigella dysenteriae, Aeromonas hydrophilia, Salmonella typhi Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Enterobacter aerogenes. Component one exhibited antimicrobial activity against Shigella dysenteriae, Aeromonas hydrophilia, Salmonella typhi, Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus with a minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC), of 3.445 mg/ml. Component five was only active against Proteus mirabilis with a MIC of 0.08 mg/ml. Component 7, was active against Shigella dysenteriae, Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli with a MIC of 0.365 mg/ml against both Shigella dysenteriae and Staphylococcus aureus and 0.091 mg/ml against Escherichia coli. Component 8, was active against Shigella, Aeromonas hydrophilia, Salmonella, Proteus mirabilis, Escherichia coli with a MIC of 155 mg/ml.
Only four out of eight aqueous extracts showed AMA against both gram negative and positive bacteria and showed no AMA against Candida albicans, Enterobacter aerogenes and Vibrio cholerae. Therefore the Kirkia wilmsii plant root may be used as a broad spectrum antibiotic.