Antimicrobial and phytochemical investigation of herbal suspensions used in management of oral health in Nairobi County, Kenya

Florence W. Ngari, Ruth N. Wanjau, Eliud N.M. Njagi, Nicholas K. Gikonyo


An increasing number of Kenyans are using natural herbal products for general and oral health care due to high cost of conventional medicine. Few of these products, however, have undergone rigorous testing, as evidenced by the limited amount of information on their safety and efficacy in the literature. This study investigated the antimicrobial and phytochemical properties of 10 suspensions based on herbal products sold in Nairobi Kenya. Phytochemical evaluation was carried out using standard methods while agar well diffusion was used to study antimicrobial work.  Results reveal lack of detectable levels of phytochemicals while 50% of the investigated products lacked antimicrobial activity against test bacteria (Staphyloccus aureus ATCC 25923, Pseudomonas aeruginosa (P.a) ATCC 27853, Proteus vulgaris ATCC 6380, Bacillus subtilis ATCC 14579, Candida albicans ATCC 10231, Esherichia coli ATCC 25922, Streptococcus mutans, Enterococcus faecalis, ATCC 9790 and Lactobacillus acidophilus). The study concludes that some products in the market may not be based on herbs as indicated in the label. Thorough investigation of antimicrobial, phytochemical work as well as toxicity should be carried out on such products. The results provide practitioners and consumers with insight into the claims of natural herbal products antimicrobial effects.

Key words: antimicrobial activity, herbal products, activity index, phytochemical

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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