Original Research

Biological activity of folkloric plants used in the treatment of ‘u wela’ against pathogens

Tryphina T. Ramavhale, Salome M. Mahlo, Jacobus N. Eloff
Journal of Medicinal Plants for Economic Development | Vol 8, No 1 | a238 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jomped.v8i1.238 | © 2024 Tryphina T. Ramavhale, Salome M. Mahlo, Jacobus N. Eloff | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 November 2023 | Published: 03 May 2024

About the author(s)

Tryphina T. Ramavhale, Department of Biodiversity, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Limpopo, Polokwane Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa
Salome M. Mahlo, Department of Biodiversity, Faculty of Science and Agriculture, University of Limpopo, Polokwane, South Africa
Jacobus N. Eloff, Department of Paraclinical Sciences, Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa

Abstract

Background: ‘U wela’ also known as ‘Divhu’ in ‘Tshivenda’ is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a combination of fungal and bacterial microorganisms that affects males because of unprotected sexual encounters with a woman who has had an abortion or miscarriage.

Aim: The study aimed to investigate medicinal plants used to treat ‘u wela’ and determine their biological activity against Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Candida albicans.

Setting: Eight plant species (Elaeodendron transvaalense[Burtt Davy] R.H. Archer, Albizia versicolor Welw. ex Oliv, Xanthocercis zambesiaca Baker, Cassia abbreviata subsp. beareana [Holmes] Brenan, Anthocleista grandiflora Gilg, Myrothamnus flabellifolius Welw., Mimusops zeyheri Sond, and Capparis tomentosa Lam.) used to combat ‘u wela’ were selected from the Ethnomedicinal plant’s database of over 300 medicinal plants used for medicinal purposes in humans, in the Vhembe district, Limpopo province, South Africa.

Methods: The antimicrobial activity of the plant extracts was investigated against Candida albicans and Neisseria gonorrhoeae using serial dilution and bioautography assays.

Results: The plant extracts of A. versicolor and C. abbreviata had excellent activity with a low minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC). value of 0.02 and 0.07 mg/mL, respectively. In bioautograms developed in benzene/ethanol/ammonia hydroxide (BEA), active compounds were visible in the extracts of A. versicolor.

Conclusion: A. versicolor had excellent antimicrobial activity and may be used in traditional therapy to combat ‘u wela’.

Contribution: The study has demonstrated that A. versicolor is a promising plant species that could lead to the discovery of novel drugs to combat ‘u wela’.


Keywords

U wela; gonorrhoea; antimicrobial activity; bioautography assay; Candida albicans; Neisseria gonorrhoeae

JEL Codes

I12: Health Behavior

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 3: Good health and well-being

Metrics

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