SCREENING METHODS: In Vivo assessment

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The preceding discussion clearly demonstrates the similarity in methods used for in vitro antibacterial and antifungal assays of plant extracts and there are many papers in the literature using one of more of the methods. A smaller number of research groups have moved beyond the in vitro environment and are investigating the in vivo efficacy of those extracts that show promise in the laboratory. This is a more complex and costly activity as not only does the activity against the microorganisms need to be evaluated, there must also be consideration of mammalian cell toxicity and allergic reactions (Matura et al, 2005).

To date most in vivo testing of plant extracts has involved the use of essential oils against human skin infections, particularly fungal infections, and testing of extracts follow standard clinical trial protocols. Perhaps the plant extract best known for its in vivo antibacterial activity is honey, with a large number of studies demonstrating in vivo activity (Dunford et al, 2000; Moore et al, 2001). It is important to note that demonstrated activity in vitro does not always translate to activity in vivo.

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