Open Access Research article

Evaluating the anti Mycobacterium tuberculosis activity of Alpinia galanga (L.) Willd. axenically under reducing oxygen conditions and in intracellular assays

Pooja Gupta1, Purva Bhatter1, Desiree D’souza1, Monica Tolani1, Poonam Daswani1, Pundarikakshudu Tetali2 and Tannaz Birdi1*

Author Affiliations

1 The Foundation for Medical Research, 84-A, R.G. Thadani Marg, Worli, Mumbai 400018, Maharashtra, India

2 Naoroji Godrej Centre for Plant Research, Lawkim Motors Group Campus, Shindewadi, Shirwal, Satara, Maharashtra 412801, India

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2014, 14:84  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-14-84

Published: 4 March 2014



In tuberculosis (TB), the steadily increasing bacterial resistance to existing drugs and latent TB continue to be major concerns. A combination of conventional drugs and plant derived therapeutics can serve to expand the antimicrobial spectrum, prevent the emergence of drug resistant mutants and minimize toxicity. Alpinia galanga, used in various traditional medicines, possesses broad spectrum antibacterial properties. The study was undertaken to assess the antimycobacterial potential of A. galanga in axenic (under aerobic and anaerobic conditions) and intracellular assays.


Phytochemical analysis was done using HPTLC. The acetone, aqueous and ethanolic extracts (1, 10, 25, 50 and 100 μg/ml) of A. galanga were tested axenically using Microplate Alamar Blue Assay (MABA) against Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) H37Rv and three drug sensitive and three multi drug resistant clinical isolates. The activity of the extracts was also evaluated intracellularly in A549 cell line against these strains. The extracts active under intracellular conditions were further tested in an axenic setup under reducing oxygen concentrations using only H37Rv.


1´ acetoxychavicol acetate, the reference standard used, was present in all the three extracts. The acetone and ethanolic extracts were active in axenic (aerobic and anaerobic) and intracellular assays. The aqueous extract did not demonstrate activity under the defined assay parameters.


A. galanga exhibits anti M.tb activity with multiple modes of action. Since the activity of the extracts was observed under reducing oxygen concentrations, it may be effective in treating the dormant and non-replicating bacteria of latent TB. Though the hypothesis needs further testing, A. galanga being a regular dietary component may be utilized in combination with the conventional TB therapy for enhanced efficacy.

Mycobacterium tuberculosis; Medicinal plants; Alpinia galanga; Anaerobic assay; Intracellular assays