Ethnobotanical survey and antifungal activity of plants identified for the management of opportunistic fungal infections in HIV/AIDS patients in the Amathole District of the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa
In a study to document plants used to treat opportunistic fungal infections (OFIs) seen in HIV/AIDS patients in the Eastern Cape, South Africa, ethnobotanical information was obtained through questionnaires and conversations with 22 traditional healers and 101 HIV/AIDS patients. Thirty two plant species, belonging to 26 families, were identified as being used for this purpose. Two frequently used plants, Arctotis arctotoides K.Lewin and Gasteria bicolor Haw., were examined for validation by recording antifungal effects and minimum inhibitory concentrations (MICs) of their hexane, acetone and water extracts against 10 opportunistic fungi, using agar well-diffusion and broth micro-dilution methods. Among the 6 plant extracts, all the hexane and acetone extracts were active against at least one of the fungi with zones of inhibition varying from 8 to 32mm (control: 14–27mm). For both plants the lowest MICs were obtained with the hexane extracts (A. arctotoides: 0.005mg/ml against Trichophyton mucoides and G. bicolor: 0.04mg/ml against Aspergillus fumigatus). The inhibitory activity of the active extracts, based on the mean inhibition diameters, was in the order: A. arctotoides (hexane) > A. arctotoides (acetone) > G. bicolor (hexane) > G. bicolor (acetone). The most susceptible fungi were Candida glabrata, C. krusei and Microsporum canis, while Cyptococcus neoformans, Trycophyton tonsurans and M. gypseum were not susceptible to any of the extracts even at 5mg/ml which was the highest concentration used. This study not only documents thirty two plants used, but validates the use of two of these plants in traditional medicine for the management of OFIs in HIV/AIDS patients.
Acknowledgement: The Govan Mbeki Research and Development Centre of the University of Fort Hare is acknowledged for financial support for the research and conference attendance.