Aim: In spite of obsessive use of spices in every Ethiopian meal, little has been investigated on the utilization of Ethiopian spices as a cure for oral opportunistic infections. Therefore the aim was to identify spices used in Ethiopian food through ethno botanical survey and study their antifungal activity against Candida albicans.
Method: Ethno botanical survey of the selected Kebeles of Jimma, Ethiopia was conducted using a semi structured questionnaire from October 2006 to November 2007. Antifungal nature of the spices and combination of spices and honey were evaluated by agar well diffusion assay from September 2008 to July 2010.
Result: Ethno botanical survey indicated fourteen species of spices and honey play a major role in Ethiopian food & beverages. Single plant extract of Trachyspermum copticum showed highest activity against C. albicans. The same plant showed antagonistic effect when combined with brown and white honey. Cinamomum zeylanicum showed highest synergistic effect with both brown & white honey when compared to Allium ursenum, Cuminum cyminum, Nigella sativa, Rosemarinus officinalis and Occimum hodiense.
Conclusion: Thus spices used in Ethiopian food could be a preventive as well as a cure for oral candidiasis caused by C.albicans.
Ethno botany, Candida albicans, spices, honey, Trachyspermum copticum