Antimicrobial Activity of Medicinal Plants Used by the Yaegl Aboriginal Community

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Antimicrobial activity of customary medicinal plants of the Yaegl Aboriginal community of northern New South Wales, Australia: a preliminary study

Packer J, Naz T, Yaegl Community Elders, et al
BMC Res Notes. 2015 Jun 30;8:276
PubMed Central: PMC4485878

Investigators from Macquarie University, in collaboration with the Yaegl Aboriginal Community of New South Wales, studied the antimicrobial potential of plants used in the topical treatment of wounds, sores, and skin infections.

From the paper’s Background section:

“Australian Aboriginal people have over 40,000 years of knowledge of flora and fauna as sources of food, healing agents and other resources. Studies of customary (traditional and contemporary) medicinal plant preparations, especially in recent years, have revealed interesting medicinal properties and valuable biologically active compounds. Australian Aboriginal medicinal flora have had limited biological screening studies aligned with their medicinal uses. Furthermore, the knowledge of their medicinal uses is quickly disappearing, particularly in some regions of the country, such as the southern states of Australia. Assessment of the bioactive potential of these plants with long historical use may support their wider application and also provide a source for safe, accessible alternative medicines and leads for the discovery of new drug-like molecules.

“The ongoing crisis of antimicrobial resistance calls for the investigation of novel sources of antimicrobials. Working with Indigenous communities who have been using natural remedies over the centuries can provide novel sources of antimicrobial therapies and/or lead compounds for the development of new medicines.”

Corymbia intermedia
Corymbia intermedia (Photo: Mark Marathon, Wikimedia Commons)

In discussions with elders of the community, the team selected nine plants for analysis: Alocasia brisbanensis (used for burns and boils, cuts, sores and open wounds); Lophostemon suaveolens, Smilax australis, Smilax glyciphylla, and Syncarpia glomulifera (used for antiseptic purposes); Canavalia rosea (used for boils and sores); Corymbia intermedia (used for the treatment of wounds); Hibbertia scandens (used for sores and rashes); and Ipomoea brasiliensis (used as a poultice for boils).

The team found extracts of L. suaveolens and S. glomulifera active against the fungus Candida albicans and the Gram positive bacteria Staphylococcus aureus, and extracts of C. intermedia active against a range of microorganisms. The study is the first report of antimicrobial activities for C. intermedia and L. suaveolens and the leaves of S. glomulifera.

Read the complete article at PubMed Central.

The information on my blog is not intended as a substitute for medical professional help or advice but is to be used only as an aid in understanding current medical knowledge. A physician should always be consulted for any health problem or medical condition.

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