EVALUATION OF THE ANTIMICROBIAL ACTIVITY OF CHLORIS GAYANA KUNTH. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON BIOCHEMISTRY
1.1 BACKGROUND OF STUDY
Plants have formed the basis of traditional medicine system which has been used for thousands of years. Traditional medicine refers to health practices, approaches, knowledge and beliefs incorporating plant, animal and mineral-based medicines, spiritual therapies, manual techniques and exercises, applied singularly or in combination to treat or to diagnose and prevent illnesses or maintain well being (World Health Organization, 2003). In developing countries where orthodox medicines are quite expensive, traditional medicine is widely practiced thus, screening for antimicrobial active compounds from ethno medicinal plants is vital so as to ascertain genuine active plants and active compounds. Ultimately, these phytochemicals will find their way into the arsenal of antimicrobial drugs prescribed by physicians (Cowan, 1999). Plants have been one of the main sources of medicaments either in the form of traditional preparations or pure active principles since the dawn of the human civilization. The utilization of plant based drugs in the world is flourishing and ever increasing. India has a wealthy ancestry of science on plant based drugs both for use in remedial and preventive medicine. Charaka S amhita reports the use of nearly 2000 vegetable remedies against various diseases. Nearly 60% of all pharmaceuticals are plant based. 300000 plants have already been explored for their medicinal properties. Every culture, including western culture has evolved indigenous system of traditional healing. Traditional healing in different cultures has a long history of ancestors creating primitive medicine during their struggle against natural calamities and diseases. Equally while searching for food; the ancient humans discovered that some foods have specific properties of relieving or eliminating certain diseases and maintaining good health. In recent years, secondary plant metabolites have been extensively investigated as a source of medicinal agents. It is anticipated that phytochemicals with good antibacterial activity will be used for the treatment of bacterial, fungal and viral infections. During the last two decades, there has been a considerable increase in the study and use of medicinal plants all over the world, especially in advanced countries. There was also a tremendous increase in the international trade and commercial exploitation of herbal medicines over the counter labeled products. In some countries, herbal medicines are still a central part of the medical system e.g. China, Ethiopia, Argentina and Papua New Guinea
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