Potential Antibacterial Activity of Two Important Local Chewing Sticks “Fagara zanthoxyloides and Distemonanthus benthamianus” along with Antioxidant Capacities

A.O. Shittu, A. Aliyu, M.S David, N.S Njinga, H.I Ishaq


In order to authenticate and ascertain the various claim by the rural dwellers that depend on chewing
sticks for their oral hygiene and protection against innumerable diseases, the antibacterial activity of the roots of
Fagara zanthoxyloides and Distemonanthus benthamianus were evaluated. Preliminary phytochemical screening was
carried out using standard methods. In-vitro antibacterial activity of the methanol extracts of both plants was also
carried out using the agar well diffusion method against standard strains of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923,
Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27853, Escherichia coli ATCC 25922, Salmonella typhii ATCC 14028, Citrobacter
freundii ATCC 8090 and also some clinical isolates of Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa,
Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae and Proteus mirabilis at different concentrations and ratios. Preliminary
phytochemical screening showed that the extracts contained alkaloids, saponin, tannins, steroids, flavonoids,
anthraquinones, cardiac glycosides and phenol. All the test microorganisms were susceptible to the inhibitory effect
of the extracts at concentrations of 200 mg/ml and 500 mg/ml. F. zanthoxyloides had better antimicrobial activity
with zones of inhibition ranging from 21.0 to 26.0 mm at 200 mg/ml and 24.3 to 29.3 mm at 500 mg/ml while D.
benthamianus had zones of inhibition ranging from 17.7 to 26.7 mm at 200 mg/mL and 19.0 to 26.7 mm at 500
mg/mL. Some of the test microorganisms were resistant to the standard antibiotics (cefuroxime, ciprofloxacin,
ofloxacin and gentamicin). Combinations of the extracts in ratios 50:50 and 75:25 yielded no increase in activity. The
MIC and MBC for D. benthamianus ranged from 6.25 mg/ml to 100 mg/mL and 25 to 200 mg/ml, respectively while
that of F. zanthoxyloides ranged from 1.56 mg/ml to 12.5 mg/mL and 50 to 200 mg/ml, respectively. The
antimicrobial activity demonstrated by F. zanthoxyloides and D. benthamianus indicates that they would be valuable
in the management of urinary, respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts infections while at the same time helping to
mitigate the problem of antimicrobial resistance. Phenolic compounds of plants, among them flavonoids are the chief
constituents, which have potent antioxidant activities.


Antimicrobial, chewing sticks, gastrointestinal, respiratory, urinary, oro-dental pathogens

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The Dhaka University Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences
ISSN 1816-1820 (Print) 1816-1839 (Online)