Sourcing Bathing Soap Excipients from Plant Materials

Over the years different plant species with different medicinal values have been used by traditional medical practitioners in treatment and management of various health conditions. Historically nearly all ethnic tribes in Kenya relied on ethno-medicinal resources in treating various ailments.  Most communities especially in the Rift Valley regions still uphold the use of herbal medicines especially the Kalenjin and Maasai communities despite the impact of western influence.

Ethno-medically juice and extracts from the leaves of Cassia didymobotrya are topically applied as antimicrobial and anti-fungal agent especially in treating skin infections such as ringworms, eczemas and other fungal infections.

Due to lack of evidence over recent years on the efficiency of these plant extracts, their use are mostly patronized by the poor or low income earners in the society. But interestingly the popularity of herbal based products especially soaps is taking over due to many years of accumulated research on their efficacy on various topical diseases.

The market nowadays has been flooded with commercial brands of herbal based products like soaps, toothpaste and lotions with good claims of efficacy against pathogens. Some even claiming 99.99% efficiency. The herbal claimed products especially soaps are even more expensive than the normal beauty soaps and are now enjoying increasing patronage

Due to alarming increase in ringworm infections or tinea infection, mostly in public primary school children and athletes, there is need to make a bathing soap that has anti-fungal properties especially against ringworms and other skin Infection and a soap with essential oils having components which have anti-aging properties, and also a natural colorant which would not only give color to the soap but also nourish the skin. Most medicated soaps popular in the market have antimicrobial properties but lack anti-fungal properties,

In effort to make an anti-fungal soap, 1:1 MeOH:CH2CL2 solvent system was used in extraction of organic compounds present in shed dried leaves of Cassia didymobotrya using cold percolation technique for 48 hours. The resulting solution was then concentrated to obtain the crude extract of which part of it was subjected to various chromatographic techniques, this led to isolation of nine compounds of which the structures of these compounds are yet to be determined since the compounds were sent to university of Mississippi for NMR analysis and the results are yet to come. But hopefully they will appear in the final write up. Part of the crude extract obtained was used in making of the soap so as to give it both antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Some crude extract along with the isolated compounds were also sent to university of Mississippi for the bio-assay analysis of which we are still waiting for the results but hopefully the results will appear in the final project report.

The colorant used in this soap was emodin which was sourced from Rumex abyssinicus species

To impart  good smell ,anti-oxidant and antimicrobial properties to the soap, essential oil from Micromeria imbricata was extracted using steam distillation method and  GC/MS analysis was done on the essential oil and thus revealing probability of it having over 30 different components the major ones along with their different probabilities being caryophyllene oxide (70.8%), α-caryophyllene (65.6%), β-bourbonene (49.2%), α-gurjunene (28.1%), α-citral (68.2%), 3-carvomenthenone (14.4%), neral (68.9%), 4-terpineol (70.5%), α-terpineol (45.2%), pinocarvone (44.5%), isopinocarvone (45.6%), linalool (52.5%), 1-germacrene D (40.1%), (Z)-β-farnesene (20.8%), β-cubevene (26.2%) and aromadendrine (13.6%).

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