Antimicrobial Activity of Euclea divinorum Hern (Ebenaceae) Leaves, Tender Stems, Root Bark and an Herbal Toothpaste Formulated from Its Ethanolic Root Bark Extract

Main Article Content

Immaculate Mbabazi
Phanice Wangila
Isaac O. K’Owino


Aim: Euclea divinorum Hern (Ebenaceae) is a treasured East African medicinal plant which has a long use in the management of dental caries. However, there are few reports on the antimicrobial activity of its different parts used in oral care. The aim of this study was to compare the antimicrobial activity of organic extracts of E. divinorum leaves, tender stems and root bark against some oral pathogens and formulate an herbal toothpaste from its most active extract.

Place and Duration of the Study: Leaves, tender stems and root bark of E. divinorum were collected from Elgueyo Marakwet Rift Valley located in the North Rift region of Kenya. The samples were analyzed at Moi University Chemistry Laboratory, Kenya between January 2020 and April 2020. 

Methodology: Shade-dried samples were ground into powder and successively extracted with hexane, dichloromethane and ethanol. Antimicrobial activity of the extracts were determined by agar disc diffusion method. Minimum inhibitory concentration assay was performed for microorganisms that exhibited the highest sensitivity to ethanolic root bark extract (which had the highest recorded zone of inhibition diameters). The ethanolic root bark extract was used for the formulation of an herbal toothpaste.

Results: The ethanolic extract of E. divinorum root bark was found to be the most active with minimum inhibitory concentration of 25, 50, 25 and 25 µg/ml for Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Candida albicans. Herbal toothpaste formulated with the ethanol extract of E. divinorum root bark had higher antimicrobial activity against the tested microorganisms compared to Colgate herbal toothpaste formulated with fluoride as the active ingredient.

Conclusion: The current study supports the use of this plant in traditional management of dental caries and as chewing sticks in Kenya.

Chewing sticks, dental caries, oral hygiene, traditional medicine.

Article Details

How to Cite
Mbabazi, I., Wangila, P., & K’Owino, I. O. (2020). Antimicrobial Activity of Euclea divinorum Hern (Ebenaceae) Leaves, Tender Stems, Root Bark and an Herbal Toothpaste Formulated from Its Ethanolic Root Bark Extract. International Journal of Research and Reports in Dentistry, 3(3), 8-16. Retrieved from
Original Research Article


Dagne E, Alemu M, Sterner O. Flavonoids from Euclea divinorum. Bull Chem Soc Ethiopia. 1993;7(2):87-92.

Grinsven M, Parkipuny ML, Johns T. Euclea divinorum (Ebenaceae) bark is a high-potential tanning material. Econ Bot. 1999;53:1-220.

Ng’ang’a MM, Hussain H, Chhabra S, Langat-Thoruwa C, Al-Harrasi A, Krohn K et al. Eucleanal A and B: Two new napthalene derivatives from Euclea divinorum. Chin Chem Letts. 2012;23(5): 576-578.

Onyango C, Gakuya LW, Mathooko FM, Maina JM, Nyaberi MO, Makobe M, et al. Phytochemical studies on herbal plants commonly used for processing and preserving meat and milk. J Appl Biosci. 2014;73:5942-48.

Ngari F, Wanjau R, Njagi E, Gikonyo N. Herbal materials used in management of oral conditions in nairobi, kenya. J Oral Health Comm Dentist. 2014;8:36-42.

Johns T, Kokwaro JO, Kimanani EK. Herbal remedies of the Luo of Siaya district, Kenya: establishing quantitative criteria for consensus. Econ Bot.1990; 44(3):369-81.

Omara T, Kiprop AK, Ramkat RC, Cherutoi J, Kagoya S, Nyangena DM, et al. Medicinal plants used in traditional management of cancer in uganda: a review of ethnobotanical surveys, phytochemistry, and anticancer studies. Evid-Based Complement Altern Med. 2020;2020:1-26.


Mwonjoria JK, Ngeranwa JK, Githinji C, Wanyonyi A. Antinociceptive effects of dichloromethane extract of Euclea divinorum. J Pharmacog Phytochem. 2018; 7(6):1104-07.

Omara T. Plants used in antivenom therapy in rural Kenya: Ethnobotany and future perspectives. J Toxicol. 2020;2020: 1-9.


Omara T, Kagoya S, Openy A, Omute T, Ssebulime S, Kiplagat KM, Bongomin O. Antivenin plants used for treatment of snakebites in Uganda: Ethnobotanical reports and pharmacological evidences. Trop Med Health. 2020;48(6):1-16.


Obakiro SB, Kiprop A, Kowino I, Kigondu E, Odero MP, Omara T, Bunalema L. Ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology and phytochemistry of traditional medicinal plants used in the management of symptoms of tuberculosis in East Africa: a systematic review. Trop Med Health. 2020; 48 (in press).

Gelfand M, Mavi S, Drummond RB, Ndemera EB. The Traditional Practitioner in Zimbabwe, 1st edn. Mambo Press, Gweru, Zimbabwe. 1985;164.

Kipkore W, Wanjohi B, Rono H, Kigen G. A study of the medicinal plants used by the Marakwet Community in Kenya. J Ethnobiol Ethnomed. 2014;10(24):1-21.

Okello SV, Nyunja RO, Netondo GW, Onyango JC. Ethnobotanical study of medicinal plants used by Sabaots of Mt. Elgon Kenya. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. 2009;7(1):1-10.

Jeruto P, Mutai C, Ouma G, Lukhoba C. An inventory of medicinal plants that the people of Nandi use to treat malaria. J Animal Plant Sci. 2011;9(3):1192-1200.

Orwa JA, Mwitari PG, Mtu E, Rukunga GM. Traditional healers and the management of Malaria in Kisumu district, Kenya. East Afr Med J. 2007;84:51-55.

Omara T. Antimalarial Plants Used across Kenyan Communities. Evid-Based Complement Altern Med. 2020;2020:1-31.


Mothana RA, Lindequist U, Gruenert R, Bednarski PJ. Studies of the in vitro Anticancer, antimicrobial and antioxidant potentials of selected yemeni medicinal plants from the island soqotra. BMC Compl Altern Med. 2009;11:1-11.

Miller GA, Morris M. Ethnoflora of the Soqotra Archipelago The Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, UK. Printed by the Charlesworth Group, Huddersfield, UK; 2004.

Samie A, Tambani T, Harshfield E, Green E, Ramalivhana JN, Bessong PO. Antifungal activities of selected Venda medicinal plants against Candida albicans, Candida krusei and Cryptococcus neoformans isolated from South African AIDS patients. Afr J Biotechnol. 2010; 9(20):2965-76.

Nyambe MM. Phytochemical and antibacterial analysis of indigenous chewing sticks, Diospyros lycioides and E. divinorum. Telematics and Informatics. 2014;19(1):27-40.

Ngari F, Wanjau R, Njagi E, Gikonyo N. Safety and Antimicrobial Properties of Euclea divinorum Hiern, Chewing Sticks Used for Management of Oral Health in Nairobi County, Kenya. J Pharm Biomed Sci. 2013;3(3):1-8.

More G, Tshikalange TE, Lall N, Botha F, Meyer JJM. Antimicrobial activity of medicinal plants against oral microorganisms. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008; 119(3):473-77. Available:

Homer KA, Manji F, Beighton D. Inhibition of protease activities of periodontopathic bacteria by extracts of plants used in Kenya as chewing sticks (mswaki). Archives Oral Biol. 1990;35(6):421-424.


Felhi S, Daoud A, Hajlaoui H, Mnafgui K, Gharsallah N, Kadri A. Solvent extraction effects on phytochemical constituents profiles, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities and functional group analysis of Ecballium elaterium seeds and peels fruits. J Chem Pharm Sci. 2017;37(3):483-492.

Farahmandfar R, Esmaeilzadeh R, Maryam K, Shahrampour D, Bakhshandeh T. Bioactive compounds, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of Arum maculatum leaves extracts as affected by various solvents and extraction methods. Food Sci Nutr. 2019;7:465-75.

Wetungu MW, Matasyoh JC, Kinyanjui T. Antimicrobial activity of solvent extracts from the leaves of Tarchonanthus camphoratus (Asteraceae). J Pharmacog Phytochem. 2014;3(1):123-127.

Grace XF, Darsika C, Sowmya KV, Afker A, Shanmuganathan S. Preparation and Evaluation of Herbal Dentifrice. Int Res J Pharm. 2015;6(8):509-11.

Silva CPD, Sousa MSB, Siguemoto ÉS, Soares RAM, Arêas JAG. Chemical composition and antioxidant activity of jatobá-do-cerrado (Hymenaea stigonocarpa Mart.) flour. Food Sci Technol. 2014;34(4):597-603.

Naima R, Oumam M, Hannache H, Sesbou A, Charrier B, Pizzi A, et al. Comparison of the impact of different extraction methods on polyphenols yields and tannins extracted from Moroccan Acacia mollissima barks. Ind Crops Prod. 2015;70:245-52.

Felhi S, Baccouch N, Ben Salah H, Smaoui S, Allouche N, Gharsallah N, Kadri A. Nutritional constituents, phytochemical profiles, in vitro antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis of various solvent extracts from grape seeds (Vitis vinifera L.). Food Sci Biotechnol. 2016;25(6):1537-44.

Al-Fatimi M. Antifungal activity of Euclea divinorum root and study of its ethnobotany and phytopharmacology. Processes. 2019; 7(680):1-12.

Batovska DI, Todorova IT, Tsvetkova IV, Najdenski HM. Antibacterial study of the medium chain fatty acids and their 1-monoglycerides: Individual effects and synergistic relationships. Polish J Microbiol. 2009;58(1):43-47.

Karimi S, Lotfipour F, Asnaashari S, Asgharian P, Sarvari Y. Phytochemical analysis and anti-microbial activity of some important medicinal plants from North-west of Iran. Iranian J Pharm Res. 2019;18: 1871-83.

López L, Itzel L, Flores N, Daniel S, Belmares S, Yesenia S et al. Naphthoquinones: Biological Properties and Synthesis of Lawsone And Derivatives-A Structured Review. Vitae. 2014;21(3):248-58.

Ozano-Grande MA, Gorinstein S, Espitia-Rangel E, Davila-Ortiz G, Martınez-Ayala AL. Plant sources, extraction methods, and uses of squalene. Int J Agron. 2018; 2018:1-13.

Sharma S, Agarwal S, Prakash J, Pandey M, Singh A. Formulation Development and Quality Evaluation of Polyherbal Toothpaste “Oral S”. Int J Pharm Res Allied Sci. 2014;3(2):30–39.

Wardhana YW, Warya S, Trisnawaty A. Formulation of Toothpaste gel containing mixture of aloe vera (Aloe barbadensis mill.) and red betel (Piper crocatum) extract in prevention of dental caries. J Pharm Sci Res. 2017;9(11):2172-74.