Science News

Root extracts from South African herb Morella serrata (Lam.) Killick (Myricaceae) found to possess antimicrobial and antitumor compounds


A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine investigated the antimicrobial and cytotoxic properties of a South African herb that has been extensively used in African traditional healing practices.

  • Morella serrata (Lam.) or the lance-leaved waxberry is a densely leafed, multi-stem shrub known in African folkloric medicine to treat various human and livestock diseases, as well as reportedly enhance male sexual performance. M. serrata is widely distributed within South Africa virtually in all the provinces as well as in Swaziland, Zimbabwe, and northern Botswana.
  • The study investigated M. serrata root extracts for antibacterial and antifungal activity as well as cytotoxicity (toxicity to living cells). The root was oven-dried at 40 degrees Celsius to a constant weight and pulverized. The extracting solvents included water, acetone, and ethanol.
  • Several bacterial strains were used as test organisms to evaluate the antibacterial activity of M. serrata. These bacteria included Escherichia coliSalmonella typhiBacillus pumilisListeria spp., and Staphylococcus aereus, to name a few.
  • The test results showed that all the extracts were able to inhibit all the bacterial strains at relatively low concentrations. The phytochemical screening detected the presence of bioactive compounds such as flavonoids, saponins, steroids, tannins and terpenoids, which may be key factors in the herb’s antibacterial properties.
  • The findings support the idea that M. serrata has antibacterial activity that can suppress human pathogenic bacteria and fungi.
  • M. serrata could also be a potential source of antitumor compounds after the root extracts displayed potent cytotoxicity against brine shrimp (Artemia salina) larvae. This particular species is known to be sensitive to toxic substances.

The results of the study validate the efficacy of this medicinal plant for the treatment of various human and livestock diseases in African folkloric medicine.

Journal Reference:

Ashafa AOT. MEDICINAL POTENTIAL OF MORELLA SERATA (LAM.) KILLICK (MYRICACEAE) ROOT EXTRACTS: BIOLOGICAL AND PHARMACOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013;13(1). DOI: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-163



Comments
comments powered by Disqus

RECENT NEWS & ARTICLES