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Gene Reports
Volume 21, 2020, 100879

Medicinal plants: A potential source of novel bioactive compounds showing antimicrobial efficacy against pathogens infecting hair and scalp

Minakshi Rajput, Navneet Kumar

Department of Botany and Microbiology, Gurukula Kangri Vishwavidyalaya, Haridwar 249404, Uttarakhand, India.


Hair and scalp infections have been considered one of the current major concerns as they are the main causes of hair damage and loss, thus gravely compromise the quality of life. The scalp is a unique ecological niche, suitable for microbial colonization due to high follicular density, humidity, warm, dark surface, and a large number of sweat-sebaceous glands. Several microbes utilize the favorable conditions of the scalp for their colonization and cause mild to severe infections like dandruff, seborrheic dermatitis, folliculitis, and tinea capitis. Several conventional antimicrobials available in the market fail to cure such infections due to the resistance of microbial strains. Inappropriate and excessive use of antimicrobials stems resistance, therefore the need for new antimicrobials has been dramatically increasing and medicinal plants are considered as one of the most promising alternatives of novel bioactive compounds that could be utilized as a potential source of antimicrobial drugs. Plants produce certain bioactive phytochemicals, naturally toxic to microorganisms, so have been investigated as therapeutic agents. Antimicrobials extracted from plants are considered multifunctional curing agents, easy to extract, less in cost, and safe for human consumption. This has been clinically proven that herbal formulations enhance the growth of hair and stop hair fall. Presently, there are many herbal hair oils and shampoos available in the market with high demand as they strengthen and nourish hair and scalp with negligible side effects. In this context, this article reviews a number of microbial hair and scalp conditions and detailed knowledge about medicinal plants utilized in herbal formulations and their antimicrobial efficacy against pathogens infecting hair and scalp.

Keywords: Scalp infections, Herbal formulations, Medicinal plants, Antimicrobial activity.

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