An edible weed from Uganda shows promise in treating scalp ringworm

African cabbage (Cleome gynandra) is traditionally used by Ugandans to treat the fungal disease scalp ringworm (Tinera capitis). A study confirmed that extracts derived from the edible weed demonstrated potent anti-fungal activities that can neutralize different strains of disease-causing fungi.

The experiment was conducted under the auspices of the Mbarara University of Science and Technology. Its results were published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.

  • Aqueous and ethanol extracts were taken from fresh samples of African cabbage. The extracts were evaluated for antifungal capabilities in vitro through the broth dilution method.
  • The extracts were tested on cultures of Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum canis, and Trichophyton mentagrophytes, the three strains of fungi most commonly responsible for scalp ringworm. The trial also calculated the minimum inhibitory and fungicidal concentrations of both extracts for each fungal strain.
  • Anti-fungal activity was confirmed for both aqueous and ethanol plant extracts. The effectiveness of each extract depended on the clinical fungal isolate it was tested on.
  • The minimum inhibitory concentration of both extracts was more or less similar. Their abilities to inhibit fungal growth was judged to be comparable.
  • In comparison, more of the ethanol extract was required in order to achieve the same fungus-killing effectiveness as the aqueous extract.

The researchers concluded that the traditional medicinal use of African cabbage has been given credence by the results of their study. They believe additional research can determine the effectiveness of active phytochemicals, as well as the specific concentration of each extract that will affect a particular species of fungi.

For the full version of the study, visit this link. For more articles about traditional medicinal plants, drop by

Journal reference

Imanirampa L, Alele PE. ANTIFUNGAL ACTIVITY OF CLEOME GYNANDRA L. AERIAL PARTS FOR TOPICAL TREATMENT OF TINEA CAPITIS: AN IN VITRO EVALUATION. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 8 July 2016;16(1). DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1187-9.

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