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Plectranthus amboinicus leaves stimulate growth of probiotic L. plantarum: Evidence for ethnobotanical use in diarrhea

Shubha, J.R., Bhatt, Praveena
Journal of ethnopharmacology 2015 v.166 pp. 220-227
Escherichia coli, Lactobacillus plantarum, Plectranthus amboinicus, Salmonella Typhimurium, antimicrobial properties, bacteria, beta-galactosidase, buttermilk, chemical constituents of plants, diarrhea, digestive system, enzyme activity, ethnobotany, leaves, pathogens, phenolic acids, polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, polyphenols, prebiotics, probiotics, selective media, sugars, traditional medicine, India
Leaves of Plectranthus amboinicus are consumed in India along with buttermilk (a probiotic source) during pathogen induced diarrhea. This treatment is known to reduce the number of episodes as well as duration of diarrhea.In the background of its ethnobotanical use, the present investigation was carried out to determine whether, apart from having an antimicrobial activity on pathogens, the leaves could possibly also have a positive effect on the beneficial microflora of the gut resulting in accelerated microbial ecological balance.The growth stimulating activity of the hot water extract (HWE) of P. amboinicus leaves on probiotic Lactobacillus plantarum was determined by microbroth dilution technique and viable plate count method in selective medium (MRS) as well as in fermented milk. The ability of the bacteria to utilize the phytoconstituents of HWE primarily phenolic acids and sugars was determined by assaying for phenolic acid decarboxylase by SDS-PAGE and β-galactosidase activity by β-gal ONPG assay.HWE of P. amboinicus leaves inhibited growth of pathogens (Escherichia coli and Salmonella typhimurium) while stimulated the growth of L. plantarum. SDS-PAGE gel showed the presence of phenolic acid decarboxylase enzyme induced in the presence of HWE in L. plantarum indicating the utilization of polyphenols by the bacteria. Cells grown on HWE also showed β-galactosidase activity indicating their ability to utilize sugars present in HWE.Indian borage leaves have a prebiotic effect on the probiotic bacteria (L. plantarum) which utilizes the phytoconstituents of the leaves by producing necessary metabolic enzymes. This work provides evidence in the traditional use of the leaves in the alleviation of diarrhea by accelerating microbial gut balance during infection.