A comparative analysis of two medicinal plants used to treat common skin conditions in South Africa
Infectious dermatological diseases are a common occurrence in southern Africa. Plants showing dermatological properties are highly sought after due to their ability to stop bleeding, speed up wound healing and to soothe skin exposed to burns. An attempt was made to validate the use of Haworthia limifolia Marloth and Aloe excelsa A.Berger against microbial properties from extracts of leaves against five gram positive, four gram negative bacteria and six species of fungi. All gram positive bacteria were inhibited by both the ethyl acetate and acetone extracts for leaves of H. limifolia. However, only one gram negative bacteria was inhibited by the same extracts. Ethyl acetate extract of A. excelsa was only effective against three gram positive bacteria whilst acetone extract was effective against all bacteria except for Shigella sonnei and Enterobacter aerogenes. Both ethanol and aqueous extracts of H. limifolia and A. excelsa showed antifungal activity. H. limifolia extracts showed greater antibacterial activity than A. excelsa whilst A. excelsa showed greater antifungal activity than H. limifolia. Use of either species as traditional medicine will therefore depend on the type of infection or condition presented by the patient.