Microbiological Quality Of Some Herbal Drugs In The Southwest Regional Capital Of Cameroon

Research Article
Pierre René Fotsing Kwetché, Ernest Djoko, Lenya Queen Beloe Mende Sandrine Gamwo Dongmo1,2, Josué Simo Louokdom, Anselme Michel Yawat Djogang, William lelorel Nankam Nguekap, Serge Honoré Tchoukoua and Josaphat Ndelo
Herbal medicinal products, microbial contamination, Buea

With the ever-increasing use of herbal medicinal products, safety has become a major challenge as many contaminants are known as harmful for consumers. The present study aimed at identifying types of traditional herbal products sold in Buea, South-West region of Cameroon and the microbial contaminants they could contain. Fifty-three (53) samples including 24 in liquid and 29 in powder forms were collected and submitted to microbial analysis. Microbial screening and result interpretation were conducted according to the recommendations of the European pharmacopoeia. Specific microbes were further characterized with differential and selective techniques. Overall, 73.6% of the samples were not compliant. More details indicated that 81.1% of the herbal samples contained varied TAVC count (loads: 1.28×103 - 1.49×106 CFU/mL) and that 69.8% contained enterobacteria (loads range: 4.16×103 - 1.51×106 CFU/mL). Close to 66% were contaminated by Staphylococci (1.60×103 - 3.31×105 CFU/mL) out of which 18.2% of the isolates were positive for DNAse while all were negative for coagulase. Furthermore, 16.9% of the samples were contaminated by Enterococci with microbial loads ranging from 1.60×103 to 3.25×105 CFU/mL. Lastly the fungal counts ranged from 1.60×103 to 1.60 ×106 CFU/mL for 49.1% of the samples. Additional investigation on a few liquid samples indicated that the microbial loads increased with time and that the herbal products generally became unsuitable for consumption 48 hours after preparation. The present work highlighted that large numbers of herbal products sold in Buea were contaminated with potentially harmful microorganisms which made the products unsuitable for use in the management of human diseases. Application of good practices in harvesting, manufacturing, handling and storing herbal medicinal products was deemed important for quality products in order to serve the roles expected by the WHO.