The discovery of antibiotics in the previous century lead to reduction in mortality and morbidity due to infectious diseases but their inappropriate and irrational use has resulted in emergence of resistant microbial populations. Alteration of target sites, active efflux of drugs and enzymatic degradations are the strategies employed by the pathogenic bacteria to develop intrinsic resistance to antibiotics. This has led to an increased interest in medicinal plants since 25–50% of current pharmaceuticals are plant derived. Crude extracts of medicinal plants could serve as an alternate source of resistance modifying agents owing to the wide variety of secondary metabolites. These metabolites (alkaloids, tannins, polyphenols etc.) could act as potentials for antimicrobials and resistance modifiers. Plant extracts have the ability to bind to protein domains leading to modification or inhibition protein–protein interactions. This enables the herbals to also present themselves as effective modulators of host related cellular processes viz immune response, mitosis, apoptosis and signal transduction. Thus they may exert their activity not only by killing the microorganism but by affecting key events in the pathogenic process, thereby, the bacteria, fungi and viruses may have a reduced ability to develop resistance to botanicals. The article is meant to stimulate research wherein the cidal activity of the extract is not the only parameter considered but other mechanism of action by which plants can combat drug resistant microbes are investigated. The present article emphasizes on mechanisms involved in countering multi drug resistance.
- Antibiotic resistance