Main Article Content
The incidences of chemotherapeutic failure and high cost of orthodox medicines may have led to increased use of herbal medicinal products as alternative medicines. However, the non-standardization and improper regulation of these herbal products in countries like Nigeria may raise a lot of questions about the inherent health risk associated with the consumption of these products. This study was carried out to evaluate the claims of antimicrobial activity and microbiological quality of some herbal products sold in Port Harcourt Metropolis. Forty (40) herbal medicinal products were examined in this study. All claimed to have antibacterial effect and had National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) registration number. Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Proteus mirablis, Pseudomonas aeruginosaand Staphylococcus aureus were isolated from the herbal samples. The bacterial isolates were characterized and identified by standard microbiological and biochemical methods. Antibacterial susceptibility of the isolates was determined using Kirby-Bauer disk diffusion method. The claims of antibacterial activity of the 40 samples were tested against clinical isolates of Escherichia coli, Klebsiella species, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus aureus. Forty (40) percent and fifty (50) percent of the liquid and solid dosage forms respectively were found to have gross microbial contamination above the recommended limit according to the National Policy for Assessments of Herbal Products, 2007. Staphylococcus aureus was isolated in approximately sixty-four (64) percent and twenty-nine (29) percent of the solid and liquid dosage forms respectively. Antibiotic susceptibility testing showed that most of the herbal products contained pathogenic bacteria with single and multiple drug resistance patterns. The need for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs), standardization, stricter controls and education to safeguard the health of the consuming public demands urgent attention.