Open Access Research article

In Vitro and In Vivo antifungal activities of selected Cameroonian dietary spices

Jean Paul Dzoyem1*, Roland T Tchuenguem1, Jules R Kuiate1, Gerald N Teke2, Frederick A Kechia2 and Victor Kuete1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Dschang, P.O. Box 67, Dschang, Cameroon

2 Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Bamenda, P.O. Box 39, Bambili, Cameroon

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:58  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-58

Published: 17 February 2014



Spices and herbs have been used in food since ancient times to give taste and flavor and also as food preservatives and disease remedies. In Cameroon, the use of spices and other aromatic plants as food flavoring is an integral part of dietary behavior, but relatively little is known about their antifungal potential.

The present work was designed to assess the antifungal properties of extracts from spices used in Cameroonian dietary.


The in vitro antifungal activities of twenty three extracts from twenty one spices were assessed by the broth micro-dilution method against eight fungi. Also, the in vivo activity of Olax subscorpioidea extract (the most active extract) was evaluated in rat model of disseminated candidiasis due to Candida albicans by estimating the fungal burden in blood and kidney.


Seven extracts (30%) exhibited moderate to significant antifungal activities, inhibiting the growth of the microorganisms at concentrations ranging from 0.048 to 0.39 mg/mL. Olax subscorpioidea extract exhibited the highest antifungal activity particularly against Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis (MIC of 0.097 mg/mL and 0.048 mg/mL respectively). Sixteen extracts (70%) were weakly active (MICs > 6.25 mg/mL). Oral administration of O. subscorpioidea extract at the dose 2 g/kg of body weight (bw) to artificially infected rats revealed a drop in the number of colony forming units per milliliter (cfu/mL) of Candida albicans cells in the blood below the detection limit (100 cfu/mL) while a modest decrease was observed in the kidney.


The present work shows that some of the spices studied possess interesting antifungal properties and could be used to treat candidiasis. Among the plant species tested, Olax subscorpioidea displayed the most promising result.

Antifungal; Spices; Yeasts; Disseminated candidosis