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Year : 2004  |  Volume : 36  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 41

An in vitro study of the effect of Centella asiatica [Indian pennywort] on enteric pathogens

Department of Microbiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal - 576119, India

Correspondence Address:
Department of Microbiology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal - 576119, India
[email protected]

How to cite this article:
Mamtha B, Kavitha K, Srinivasan K K, Shivananda P G. An in vitro study of the effect of Centella asiatica [Indian pennywort] on enteric pathogens. Indian J Pharmacol 2004;36:41

How to cite this URL:
Mamtha B, Kavitha K, Srinivasan K K, Shivananda P G. An in vitro study of the effect of Centella asiatica [Indian pennywort] on enteric pathogens. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2004 [cited 2023 Apr 2];36:41. Available from: https://www.ijp-online.com/text.asp?2004/36/1/41/6793

Diarrhea is a major public health problem in developing countries. The present study was undertaken to find the antibacterial activity of Centella asiatica against a battery of enteric pathogens. Centella asiatica, also known as gotukola is a very useful medicinal plant described by Charaka as an anti-aging plant. This plant is found in marshy areas all over India, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar. It is mainly used to treat mental and neurological disturbances. Apart from its role as a brain tonic, its efficacy in treating tuberculosis, syphilis, amoebic dysentery and common cold is well documented in the literature.[1],[2]
Multiple drug resistance among enteropathogens in various geographic regions presents a major threat in the control of diarrhea. Therefore indigenous medicinal plants as an alternative to antibiotics are said to play a significant role here. This particular aspect of using medicinal plants as a remedy or home cure for diarrhea is applied in our present study.
The ethanol extract of Centella asiatica was prepared according to the method of Nair et al with certain modifications.[3] In the present study, 4 ATCC Standard bacterial strains [E coli ATCC 25922, Staphylococcus aureus   ATCC 25923,  Vibrio parahaemolyticus  olyticus ATCC 17802 and  Pseudomonas aeruginosa  CC 27853] and 45 fresh clinical isolates like  Vibrio cholerae   01, V cholerae 0139, species of Shigella,  Salmonella More Details typhimurium, Aeromonas hydrophila, Entero-aggregative E coli and Candida albicans were used.
Punch well and agar dilution methods along with viable cell count were carried out.[4],[5] The working concentrations of the extracts were 100, 200, 300 and 400 mg/ml respectively.
Broad spectrum activity of the herb was observed at concentrations of 100, 200, 300 and 400 mg/ml against a battery of enteric pathogens as shown in [Table:1]. But the inhibitory effect of the extract was best demonstrated at a concentration of 400 mg/ml of the agar. Of the two methods used, the punch well method yielded better results than the agar dilution method. Viable cell count method was used to study whether the observed inhibition was bactericidal or bacteriostatic in action. In case of Vibrio cholerae 01, Shigella species and Staphylococcus aureus, the alcoholic extract was bactericidal within 2 h.
Considerable work has been carried out on the phytochemical properties of the plant which has been reviewed and it is reported to consist of triterpenoid glycosides, free acids, volatile oils and flavonoids. It has been found that the activity of this plant extract against the microorganisms is mainly concentrated on the triterpene asiaticoside. The triterpenes weaken the membranous tissues which results in dissolving the cell walls of the microorganisms so that they can be more efficiently eliminated.[6],[7],[8]
The results of our study demonstrate the antimicrobial activity of Centella asiatica against the enteropathogens. Its potential as an antidiarrheal drug is worth studying. 

  References Top

1.Mehmood I, Mohammed Ahmad ZF. Screening of some Indian Medicinal plants for their antimicrobial properties. J Ethnopharmacol 1998;62:183-93.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Zhao FM, Zhao D, Chen Si D, Oralacl S. Diarrhoeal diseases in children less than one year of age at a Children's hospital in Guangzhou, People's Republic of China. Trans Roy Soc Trop Med Hyg 1991;85:667-9.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Nair A, Bhide SV. Antimicrobial properties of different parts of Semecarpus anacardium. Indian Drugs 1996;33:323-8.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Standard operative procedure manual for Microbiology laboratories. National Institute of Biologicals. Ministry of Health and family welfare, Government of India, New Delhi: 1995.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Waterworth PM. Quantitative methods for bacterial sensitivity testing. In: Reeves DS, Philips I , William JD, Wise R, editors. Laboratory methods in antimicrobial chemotherapy. Churchill Livingstone: Baltimore; 1978.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Dutta T, Basu UP. Terpenoids IV, isolation and identification of Centella asiatica Linn. Indian J Chem 1967;5:586-90.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Bisignano G, Tomaino A, Lo Cascio R, Crisafi G, Uccella N, Saija A. On the in vitro antimicrobial activity of oleuropein and hydroxytyrosol. J Pharm Pharmacol 1999;51:971-4.   Back to cited text no. 7  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
8.Ramaswamy AS, Pariyaswamy SM, Basu N. Pharmacological studies on Centella asiatica. Indian J Med Res 1970;4:160-4.  Back to cited text no. 8    
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