Antibacterial and phytochemical properties of selected poultry ethnomedicinal plants in Masaka District
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Poultry farmers have problems of poor production, poultry diseases and the publica is vulnerable to zoonoses. Indigenous practices such as the use of herbal medicines and concoctions have been a form of therapy for poultry among resource-poor small holder farmers. Indigenous practices are considered by scientists to be risky to both human and animal health. A few farmers use conventional veterinary drugs like antibiotics most times unnecessarily and this is making disease causing bacteria more resistant to the drugs and therefore becoming a threat to public health. Documentation and validation of indigenous medicine is therefore necessary because they are likely to be important in future especially given the trend of emerging diseases and the development of resistance of pathogens to drugs. To solve the problems facing the poultry industry, documentation of data about indigenous knowledge data about the herbal plants as well as antibacterial and phytochemical analysis to validate this data was carried out in this research. The information, focused group discussions and key informant interviews were conducted. Ethanol, ether and water extracts of selected medicinal plants and five concoctions were screened for antibacterial activity against Staph. aureus, Strep. faecalis, E. coli and S. typhimurium, using agar well diffusion and tube dilution methods. Their Phytochemical composition of selected plants was also investigated. The results indicated that fifty nine plants from 33 families were commonly used and family Asteraceae had the highest number while most frequently used plants were Cannabis sativa and Nicotiana tobaccam. Plants were mainly used for prophylaxis and the oral route was the common route of administration while leaves were the most commonly used plant parts. In general, gram-positive bacteria were more susceptible than gram-negative bacterial species. Ethanol and ether extracts had better antibacterial activity than water extracts. The water extract of Moringa oleifera had activity on all the four bacteria species. The water extracts of Persea americana had the lowest MIC on S. typhymurium therefore the best activity. Leonotis nepetifolia and Lantana trifolia had the lowest MIC on Staph. aureus therefore the best activity. Phytochemicals such as tannins, sterols, basic alkaloids and alkaloid salts featured in most of the tested plants. From these results, the study has found out that ethanol and ether are better solvents and can be used as alternative solvents to water by the poultry farmers to make medicinal preparations. The study has further shown that these plants have good antibacterial activity. Moringa oleifera leaves could be used to treat a wide number of diseases, Persea americana leaves could be used to treat salmonella infections while Leonotis nepetifolia and Lantana trifolia leaves could be used to treat staphylococcal infections in poultry. These plants also have phytochemicals of medicinal importance. However the study has not isolated the specific antibacterial principles, shown toxicity studies, shown activity of these plants on other organisms like other bacteria species, protozoa and helminths and carried out clinical trials. Further studies on these should therefore be carried out.