OBJECTIVE: To investigate the antimicrobial activity of henna's fresh and dry leaves and seeds obtained from Oman. METHODS: This study was carried out at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman during the period January-June, 2004. Crude extracts of fresh and dry leaves and seeds were investigated for their antimicrobial activity against 3 standard bacterial strains namely: Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Eleven different bacterial strains were obtained from patients attending the Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. In addition, one Candida albicans (C. albicans) species was used for testing the antifungal activity of the Omani henna sample. RESULTS: All fresh and dry leaves and seeds of the Omani henna demonstrated antibacterial activity against all 3 standard strains and the 11 patients' isolated strains. Henna dry leaves demonstrated the best in-vitro antimicrobial activity and in particular against Shigella sonnei. However, henna fresh and dry seeds failed to show any activity against C. albicans. CONCLUSION: Omani henna does possess, in-vitro antibacterial activity against a wide spectrum of bacterial strains and C. albicans.
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