An indication of the in vivo efficacy of plant extracts and isolated compounds showing in vitro activity is necessary to take into account factors that are not present in the assays used to test activity in vitro, such as metabolic activation of the plant constituents. We have developed procedures to test the effectiveness of plant extracts on healing skin infections caused by bacteria  and fungi (P Masoko, personal communication).
To date one of these extracts has found some application in the herbal medicine market. The issue of in vivo toxicity is also important, as cell-based assays detecting cytotoxic effects are not sufficient to indicate toxic effects of ingested or topically applied medications. The avenue of investigating in vivo efficacy of plant extract preparations and isolated active compounds is a major area of future exploration for the Phytomedicine Programme.
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