Antimicrobial Activity of Some Herbs on Staphylococcus Aureus

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Chapter One


Herbal medicines tend to look primitive and unscientific when compared to synthetic (conventional) drugs, which are thought to be more reliable than those made from plants. Herbal medicine is still the mainstay of about 75-80% of the world population, mainly in the developing countries for primary health care (Kamboj, 2000). This is primarily because of the general belief that herbal drugs are without any side effects, besides being cheap and locally available. The use of plants for healing purposes predates human history and forms the origin of much modern medicine. Many synthetic drugs originated from plant sources: a century ago, most of the few effective drugs were plant-based. Examples include: Aspirin (which is a chemical copy of the analgesic chemical in the bark of willow trees), digoxin (from fox glove), guanine (from the bark of various cinchona tree species which was used in the treatment of malaria) and morphine (from the opium poppy) (Vicker and Zollman, 1999).

The metabolites found in spices and herbs have been a fertile ground for investigation and for moving the frontiers of biochemical knowledge forward particularly as dietary components with considerable impact on human health. Nearly 75% of all orthodox medicines are of herbal origin. Staphylococcus aureus has long been recognized as one of the most important bacteria that cause disease in humans. It is the leading cause of skin and soft tissue infections such as abscesses (boils), furuncles, and cellulitis. Although most staph infections are not serious, Staphylococcus aureus can cause serious infections such as bloodstream infections, pneumonia, or bone and joint infections. Anyone can get a staphylococcus aureus skin infection. You are more likely to get one if you have a cut or scratch, or have contact with a person or surface that has staph bacteria. The best way to prevent staph is to keep hands and wounds clean. Most staph skin infections are easily treated with antibiotics or by draining the infection. Some staph bacteria are resistant to certain antibiotics, making infections harder to treat. This project investigates the antimicrobial activity of some herbs obtained from Owerri Municipal in Nigeria among the indigenous useful herbs in Nigerian dishes for value addition, in a sample test organism, gram positive Staphylococcus aureus to determine the degree of susceptibility of the organism to the antimicrobial activity of the various herbs which can be used in treatment eventually. We will be sampling herb extracts from the following herbs; Neem leaf (Azadirachta indica (Meliaceae) dogoyaro), Garlic (Allium sativum) and Schum (phyllanthus amarus (stone breaker)).

The objectives of this work are:
1. To extract the antibacterial content from the various plants 2. To determine the effect of this antibacterial agents on the test organism. 3. To determine the mode of application of effective extracts for the purpose of treating infection.

Chapter Two


Staphylococcus aureus
Staphylococcus aureus was discovered in Aberdeen, Scotland in 1880 by the surgeon Sir Alexander Ogston in pus from surgical abscesses (Wikipedia Encyclopedia). Staphylococcus aureus literally known "the seed gold" and also known as "golden staph" is a facultative anaerobic, gram-positive cocci which reproduces asexually. It is frequently part of the normal flora of the body. About 20% of the human population are long-term carriers of Staphylococcus aureus. The carotenoid pigment, staphyloxanthin is responsible for its characteristic golden color and acts as a virulence factor with an antioxidant action that helps the microbe evade tissues by reactive oxygen. Staphylococci which lack the pigment are more easily killed by host defenses. Staphylococcus aureus is catalase-positive (meaning it can produce the enzyme catalase), so is able to convert hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) to water and oxygen, which...
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