Medicinal plants of Bangladeshand Scientific Validation oftheir folk medicinal uses

The climate of Bangladesh is hot and humid duringmost of the year. Moreover, large sections of therural and urban population have to work outdoorsunder the sun in humid conditions, which induces profusesweating and renders any clothing worn to be wet. As aconsequence of heat and humidity factors, coupled withthe often unhygienic conditions of living among sectionsof the population, fungal diseases of the skin like ringworm(or tinea) are common. Tinea is a fungal infection causedby various fungi like Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophytontonsurans, Trichophyton interdigitale, Microsporum canis,and Epidermophyton floccosum. These fungi are known asdermatophyte fungi. Heat and moisture help the fungi togrow and survive. Patients suffering from tinea versicolorare quite common in the occasional rural clinics or evencity hospitals (Sadeque et al. 1995; Muhammad et al. 2009).

Although allopathic treatment is available inBangladesh, large sections of the rural and also urbanpopulation are unable to visit allopathic doctorsbecause either they are unable to provide the doctor’sand medication costs, or such doctors are not available,especially in the rural areas. Under such circumstances,patients visit folk medicinal practitioners, who treat tineainfections with various medicinal plants. One such plantis Impatiens balsamina, which is commonly available inBangladesh. Impatiens balsamina (Garden Balsam, RoseBalsam, Touch me Not) is a species of Impatiens nativeto southern Asia and can be also found in India andMyanmar. It is an annual plant growing to 20–75 cm tall,with a thick, but soft stem. This review shall discuss thescientific evidences which may support the use of thisplant for treatment of tinea infections.

Lawsone and lawsone methyl ether are two of themain naphthoquinones in leaf extracts of Impatiensbalsamina (Sakunphueak and Panichayupakaranant2011). Anti-microbial activities of these two compounds against dermatophytic fungi, yeast, aerobic bacteria andfacultative anaerobic and anaerobic bacteria has beendemonstrated with the second compound showinghigher activity against dermatophytic fungi and Candidaalbicans. Flower petal ethanolic extract reportedly showedanti-pruritic and anti-dermatitic effects, which has beenattributed to the presence of kaempferol 3-rutinosideand lawsone (2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone) in theextract (Oku and Ishiguro 2001). Lawsone, isolated fromLawsonia inermis L. (Lythraceae) has been reported toexhibit fungicidal activity with a wide fungitoxic spectrumand non-phytotoxicity (Tripathi et al. 1978). The antifungalactivity of lawsone methyl ether has been reportedagainst Candida species (Sritrairat et al. 2011). A set ofrelated anti-microbial peptides (Ib-AMPs) have beenreported in seeds, which demonstrated activity againstvarious yeast and fungal strains (Thevissen et al. 2005).

The wirter is Pro-Vice Chancellor of
University of Development Alternative, Dhaka

1. Muhammad N, Kamal M, Islam T, Islam N, Shafiquzzaman M (2009) A study to evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral fluconazole in the treatment of tinea versicolor. Mymensingh Med J 18: 31-35.
2. Oku H, Ishiguro K (2001) Antipruritic and antidermatitic effect of extract and compounds of Impatiens balsamina L. in atopic dermatitis model of NC mice. Phytother Res 15: 506-510.
3. Sadeque JB, Shahidullah M, Shah OR, Kamal M (1995) Systemic ketoconazole in the treatment of tinea versicolor. Int J Dermatol 34: 504-505.
4. Sakunphueak A, Panichayupakaranant P (2012) Comparison of antimicrobial activities of naphthoquinones from Impatiens balsamina. Nat Prod Res 26: 1119-1124.
5. Tripathi RD, Srivastava HS, Dixit SN (1978) A fungitoxic principle from the leaves of Lawsonia inermis Lam. Experientia 34: 51-52

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Monday 22 Jan 2018

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