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Microbial Assessment of Regulated and Unregulated Herbal Medicines in Delta State, Nigeria

*Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Delta State University, Abraka, Nigeria
*(e-mail :; Contact : 2348022824106)
(Received : September 1, 2021; Accepted : November 22, 2021)


This study investigated the microbiological status of herbal drugs sold in Delta State. Fifty-eight herbal
products of which 31.03% were regulated by the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and
Control and 68.97% unregulated. Of the unregulated herbal products, seven products were unpackaged
prepared by street vendors and 33 were packaged. Total aerobic viable counts for bacteria and fungi were
analyzed according to standards stipulated by World Health Organization for microbial quality of herbal
products. Selective media were used for detecting specific organisms. Identification of bacteria and
fungi was carried out using prescribed standard methods. Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus
aureus were not detected in any of the regulated herbal products. Salmonella spp. and Shigella spp. were
not detected in any of the herbal products. Bacillus spp. and Aspergillus spp. were the most predominant
organisms. Some herbal products did not yield bacteria and fungi growth. However, the microbial load of
those that yielded growth were more than the permissible range. This study revealed the poor microbial
quality of these herbal drugs. Although effective for treating diseases, yet the method of production
needs to be improved following good manufacturing process and standardization for the safety and wellbeing of unsuspecting populace.
Key words : Herbal medicine, regulated, microbial quality, contaminants