Bacteriological Investigations on the Quality of Herbal Medicinal Concoctions Vended in Gombe Markets.


  • Jabir A. Hamza Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology, Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria
  • Hussein I. Ibrahim Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology, Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria
  • Gloria O. Michael1 Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology, Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria
  • Gurama A. Gurama1 Department of Pharmaceutical Microbiology and Biotechnology, Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria
  • Frank A. Kakala Department of Microbiology, Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria


diseases, safe level, viable plate count, bacteria, Medicinal concoctions


Background: The use of medicinal plant products for the treatment of diseases is still highly valued globally due to several rationales,  especially in low-income countries. The recognized potency of herbal medicines based on their vast pharmacological functions has  enabled their uses to produce modern pharmaceutical drugs. However, the unregulated production and widespread use of nonsterile  pharmaceutical medicinal products like herbal medicinal concoctions have instigated public health experts to question  their quality and wholesomeness for consumption. This prompted the study aimed at investigating the quality of herbal medicinal  concoctions vended in Gombe markets. 

Methods: A total of sixty (60) herbal medicinal concoctions were randomly sampled from four different vending outlets or markets for  this study. Microbiological culturing techniques which include ten-fold serial dilution and spread-plating method were adopted for the  isolation of bacteria in herbal medicinal concoction samples, and viable plate counts were established in colony-forming units per  mL  according to standard practice. Identification of bacterial isolates was achieved by colony morphology determination/macroscopy,  gram staining and microscopy, while the identified bacteria were further confirmed using several biochemical analyses. 

Results: The  mean viable plate count for all the different concoctions sampled was high and above the safe level of the established  standards for non-sterile herbal preparations. Consequently, this initially signifies the unsafe status of the herbal concoctions for  public consumption. Also, eight (8) bacteria genera/species among which are pathogenic strains were isolated and identified from the  herbal concoctions. These bacterial contaminants with different percentages of occurrences include Enterobacter spp., Escherichia coli,  Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella spp., Staphylococcus epidermidis, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Citrobacter freundii, Salmonella typhi. 

Conclusion: Herbal or medicinal concoctions vended in different markets within the Gombe metropolis where samples were collected  were grossly contaminated beyond the established allowable limits for non-sterile pharmaceuticals, thus depicting the unsafe quality  status of the medicinal products for consumption.  

Author Biography

Frank A. Kakala, Department of Microbiology, Gombe State University, Gombe, Nigeria



Department of Medical Microbiology, Federal Teaching Hospital, Gombe, Nigeria


Falodun, A. (2010). Herbal medicine in Africadistribution, standardization, and prospects. Research Journal of Phytochemistry, 4(3), 154- 161. DOI:10.3923/RJPHYTO.2010.154.161

Shinwari, Z. K. (2010). Medicinal plants research in Pakistan. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research, 4(3), 161-76.

Rates, S.M. (2001). Plants as source of drugs. Toxicon , 39:03–13 .

Ugochukwu, S. C., Uche, A., & Ifeanyi, O. (2013). Preliminary phytochemical screening of different solvent extracts of stem bark and roots of Dennetia tripetala G. Baker. Asian journal of plant science and research , 3 ( 3 ) , 10-13 .

Tapsell, L. C., Hemphill, I., Cobiac, L., Sullivan, D. R., Fenech, M., Patch, C. S., ... & Inge, K. E. (2006). Health benefits of herbs and spices: the past, the present, the future. Medical Journal of Australia, 185(4): 24-29. Available online at hƩps://

Ghani, A. (2003). Medicinal Plants of Bangladesh Chemical constituents & uses. (2nd edition) Asiatic Society of Bangladesh.

Oluyem, J., Yinusa, M.A., Raji, A., & Adejoke, J. (2016). Utilization of Herbal Medicine Among Inhabitants of an Urban Centre in North-Central Nigeria. Algerian Journal of Natural Products, 4, 367-378.

Ayantade, D., Victor, A., Aderonke, O.A., (2022). Microbial quality and antimicrobial evaluation of some herbal concoctions in a Rural Town in Nigeria. World Journal of Biology, Pharmacy and Healh Sciences, 04 ( 03 ) , 048–058.

Ibrahim, H.I., Abdulrasheed, M., Hamza, J.A., Mohammed, S.A., Ibrahim, S., Babayo, C., Nicholas, M.P. (2020). Isolation and Identification of Microorganism from Street Vended Ready-toEat Food in Gombe Metropolis, Nigeria. UMYU Journal of Microbiology Research, 5(2)26-32.

Miles, A. A., Misra, S. S., & Irwin, J. O. (1938). The Estimation of the Bactericidal Power of the Blood. The Journal of Hygiene, 38(6), 732–749. hƩp://

Cheesbrough, M. (2006). District Laboratory practice in Tropical countries, part 2, Cambridge University press, UK.

Buchanna, R.E., Gibbon, N.E. (1973). Bergy's Manual of Determination Bacteriology, Williams and Wilkin Baltimore, USA.

Holt, J.G., Kneg, N.R., Sneath, P.H., Stanly, J.J., Williams, S.T. (1994). Bergeys Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, Wilkins Publishers, Baltimore.

World Health Organization. (2007). Guidelines for assessing quality of herbal medicines with reference to contaminants and residues. Geneva.

Cary, N.C. (1996). Microbiological Specifications of Pathogens. International Commission on Microbiological Specifications for Food Microorganisms in Foods, 1996;89.

Ebo, P.U., Mukhtar, M.D., Taura, D.W. (2012). Evaluation of Microbiological Safety of Herbal Concoctions Sold in Some Markets in Gabasawa and Nassarawa Local Government Areas in Kano State. Bayero Journal of Pure and Applied Science , 5 ( 1 ) : 127–131

Nwankwo, E.O, John, C. (2017). Evaluation of Pathogenic Bacterial Contamination and Antimicrobial Activity of Some Liquid Herbal Medicinal Products Sold in Umuahia, Abia State, South-Eastern Nigeria. Journal of Current Biomedical Research , 1 ( 1 ) : 55 - 64.hƩps:// /jcbr/arƟcle/view/715

Stević, T., Pavlović,S., Stanković,S., Šavikin, K. (2012). Pathogenic microorganisms of Medicinal Herbal Drugs. Archive of Biological Science Belgrade, 64 ( 1 ) : 49 - 58 .

Esimone, C. O., Chah, K. F., & Ikejide, S. C. (2002). Microbiological quality of herbal preparations marketed in South- East Nigeria. Journal of Natural Remedies, 42-48.

Okunlola, A., Adewoyin, B. A., & Odeku, O. A. (2007). Evaluation of pharmaceutical and microbial qualities of some herbal medicinal products in south- western Nigeria. Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 6(1), 661- 670. DOI: 10.4314/tjpr.v6i1.14644

Ejukonemu, F. E., & Isaac, I. O. (2019). Physicochemical and microbiological evaluation of Agbo (herbal decoction) sold in some parts of Warri metropolis, Delta-State, Nigeria. Infection, 4, 0-7.

Ola, I. O., Omomowo, I. O., Aina, D. A., Majolagbe, N. O., & Oladipo, E. K. (2013). Bacteriological evaluation and antimicrobial sensitivity test of common herbal concoctions in Ogbomoso metropolis. African Journal of Microbiology Research, 7(48), 5479-5483.

Noor, R., Huda, N., Rahman, F., Bashar, T., & Munshi, S. K. (2013). Microbial contamination in herbal medicines available in Bangladesh. Bangladesh Medical Research Council Bulletin, 3 9 ( 3 ) , 124-129 . hƩps:// 3

Abba, D., Inabo, H., Yakubu, S., & Olonitola, O. (2009). Contamination of herbal medicinal products marketed in Kaduna metropolis with selected pathogenic bacteria. African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines , 6 ( 1 ) . DOI : 10.4314/ajtcam.v6i1.57076

Aarland, R. C., Rivera-Cabrera, F., Perez-Flores, L. J., de Leon Sanchez, F. D., & MendozaEspinoza, J. A. (2014). Relevance of chemical standardization and innocuousness in the process of development of herbal medicines: a review. Asian Journal of Plant Sciences, 13(1), 1-7.

Ujam, N. T., Oli, A. N., Ikegbunam, M. N., Adikwu, M. U., & Esimone, C. O. (2013). Antimicrobial resistance evaluation of organisms isolated from liquid herbal products manufactured and marketed in South-Eastern Nigeria. British Journal of Pharmaceutical Research, 3(4), 548.

Walther, C., Marwa, K. J., Seni, J., Hamis, P., Silago, V., Mshana, S. E., & Jande, M. (2016). Microbial contamination of traditional liquid herbal medicinal products marketed in Mwanza city: magnitude and risk factors. Pan African Medical Journal, 23(1).

Arias, M. L., Chaves, C., & Alfaro, L. D. (1999). Microbiological analysis of some herbal infusions used as medicines. Revista Biomédica, 10(1), 1-6.

Yusuf, M. A., Hamid, T. A., & Hussain, I. (2012). Isolation and identification of bacteria associated with balangu (roasted meat product) sold in Bauchi. Nigeria. Journal of Pharmacy, 2(6), 38- 48.

Archibong, E. J., Igboeli, C. N., Okoro, N. C., & Obika, I. (2017). Microbiological Assessment of some liquid herbal medications sold in Awka metropolis, Anambra state. Journal of Bioengineering and Bioscience, 5(3), 37-46. hƩps://

Glória, M.L S. (2020). Microbial contamination of herbalmedicines: areview . hƩp://

Lau, A. J., Holmes, M. J., Woo, S. O., & Koh, H. L. (2003). Analysis of adulterants in a traditional herbal medicinal product using liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry–mass spectrometry. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedi cal Anal y sis, 31(2), 401-406. Ʃps://doi. or g/10.1016/S0731 - 7085(02)00637

Oluyege, J. O., & Adelabu, D. M. (2010). Microbial contamination of some hawked herbal products in Ado-Ekiti, Nigeria. Continental Journal of Microbiology, 4(8), 8-14.

Thillaivanan, S., & Samraj, K. (2014). Challenges, constraints and opportunities in herbal medicines-a review. International journal of Herbal medicine, 2(1), 21-24.

Sosa, A. D. J., Byarugaba, D. K., Amábile-Cuevas, C. F., Hsueh, P. R., Kariuki, S., & Okeke, I. N. (Eds.). (2010). Antimicrobial resistance in developing countries(pp. 3-7). New York: Springer. hƩps:// 0-387-89370-9_2

Alwakeel, S. S. (2009). The effect of mycotoxins found in some herbal plants on biochemical parameters. Pakistan

Journal of Biological Sciences, 12(8), 637-642.

Rodríguez-Amaya, D. B., & Sabino, M. (2002). Mycotoxin research in Brazil: the last decade in review. Brazilian Journal of Microbiology, 33, 1-11.




How to Cite

Hamza, J. A., Ibrahim, H. I., Michael1 , G. O., Gurama1, G. A., & Kakala, F. . A. (2023). Bacteriological Investigations on the Quality of Herbal Medicinal Concoctions Vended in Gombe Markets.: The Nigerian Journal of Pharmacy, 57(1), 491–500. Retrieved from