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