Antimicrobial activity of Capparis spinosa as its usages in traditional medicine
Capparis spinosa roots and fruits are traditionally used for the treatment of diseases such as diarrhea and hemorrhoids. In the 10th century, farmers also used aqueous extract from its roots for disinfecting their plants’ seeds. Due to widespread use of this plant in traditional medicine, we evaluated different extracts (aqueous, methanol, ethanol and ethyl acetate) of fruits and roots of this plant against bacteria and fungi causing infections in plants or humans. The total phenolic and flavonoid content of extracts from fruits and roots and the antioxidant activity were evaluated. The antimicrobial activity was evaluated by microdilution assay in fluid medium. Among different extracts from roots and fruits, root ethyl acetate and fruit methanol extracts had higher total phenolic content, while fruit ethyl acetate extract contained higher total flavonoid content. The higher antioxidant activity was shown for roots ethanol extract (IC50=88 μg/ml). As its traditional uses, roots aqueous extract from C. spinosa exhibited inhibitory effect against bacteria and fungi with the exception of Pseudomonas aeruginosa. With the exception of fruit aqueous extract, other extracts (methanol, ethanol and ethyl acetate) from fruit and root exhibited good activity against microorganisms, especially fungi. This study reveals the traditional uses of roots and fruit extracts as antimicrobials agent.