Antimicrobial activity of organic and aqueous extracts from fruits, leaves and roots of Tribulus terrestris L., an Iraqi medicinal plant used as urinary anti-infective in folk medicine, was examined against 11 species of pathogenic and non-pathogenic microorganisms: Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis, Bacillus cereus, Corynebacterium diphtheriae, Escherichia coli, Proteus vulgaris, Serratia marcescens, Salmonella typhimurium, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Candida albicans using microdilution method in 96 multiwell microtiter plates. All the extracts from the different parts of the plant showed antimicrobial activity against most tested microorganisms. The most active extract against both Gram-negative and Gram-positive bacteria was ethanol extract from the fruits with a minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) value of 0.15 mg/ml against B. subtilis, B. cereus, P. vulgaris and C. diphtheriae. In addition, the same extract from the same plant part demonstrated the strongest antifungal activity against C. albicans with an MIC value of 0.15 mg/ml.
Traditional medicine has been practiced for many centuries by a substantial proportion of the population of Iraq. The interest in the study of medicinal plants as a source of pharmacologically active compounds has increased worldwide. It is recognized that in some developing countries, plants are the main medicinal source to treat infectious diseases. Plant extracts represent a continuous effort to find new compounds with the potential to act against multi-resistant bacteria. Approximately 20% of the plants found in the world have been submitted to pharmacological or biological test, and a substantial number of new antibiotics introduced on the market are obtained from natural or semi-synthetic resources.