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International Journal of Current Research and Review 


: A Recent Report on ‘Plants with Anti- Candida 



Section: Healthcare 

Darshan Kumar’, Ayesha2, Madhulika Jha?, Pankaj Gautam’, Himanshu Joshi, 
Navin Kumar® 

Sci. Journal Impact 
Factor: 6.1 (2018) 
ICV: 90.90 (2018) 


"Department of Biotechnology, Graphic Era Deemed to be University, 566/6, Bell Road, Clement Town, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India; 
‘Department of Life Sciences, Graphic Era Deemed to be University, 566/6, Bell Road, Clement Town, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India; 
‘College of Pharmacy, Graphic Era Hill University, Bhimtal Campus, Uttarakhand, India. 


Fungal infections are drawing attention because of the high mortality and morbidity rate associated with them. Candida, Crypto- 
coccus, Pneumocystis, and Aspergillus are the main members of fungal genera responsible for life-threatening fungal infections 
all over the world. Candida exists as commensal opportunistic pathogens in the natural flora of human beings. Members of this 
genus have specialized virulence attributes which include adhesion, biofilm formation, yeast to hyphal transition, cell surface 
hydrophobicity, and secretion of hydrolytic enzymes. C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, C. glabrata, and C. tropicalis are key species, 
mainly responsible for 95% of candidiasis worldwide. Azoles, amphotericin B, echinocandins and terbinafine are the main syn- 
thetic drugs against the pathogens. Rising resistance to antifungals demands the development of alternative drugs, especially 
of plant origin. In this review, we have included the selected plants having significant anti-Candida potential, based upon recent 

Key Words: Candida, Candidiasis, Biofilm, Anti-Candida, Phytoactive, Synthetic drugs, MIC, Camellia sinensis, Hypericum hav- 

INTRODUCTION natural flora of the gastrointestinal tract, the mucosal oral 
cavity, and the human reproductive organs comprises of vari- 

Fungi are considered to be one of the potential health hazards ous species of Candida’. 

to animals including humans. Annually, fungal diseases are 
responsible for over 1.5 million deaths and infecting over a 
billion people worldwide. Candida, Cryptococcus, Pneumo- 
cystisand Aspergillus are the main fungal genera responsible 
for such infections'. The occurrence of life-threatening fun- 
gal infections has increased in immune-compromised AIDS 
patients, blood cancer, neonates, and organ transplants’. 
Fungal infections present a possible danger to health world- 
wide owing to their elevated mortality and morbidity rate 

Candidiasis is a condition of Candida infection which caus- 
es shallow mucocutaneous infections, invasive tissue, and 
bloodstream infections®’. C. albicans, the most common 
pathogenic species, is followed by C. tropicalis, C. glabrata, 
and C. parapsilosis*. Clinical isolates have been reported to 
be resistant to existing antifungals, particularly azoles, echi- 
nocandins, and polyene’. Hydrophobicity of the cell surface, 
hyphal transformation hydrolytic enzyme secretion and de- 

4, Mortality associated with the fungal disease is similar to 
that of tuberculosis (more than 1.6 million) and above 3-fold 
more than malaria '. 

Candida is a well-known group of fungi containing around 
20 pathogenic species. It is a member of the Saccharomy- 
cetes class, the Saccharomycetales order, and the Saccha- 
romycetaceae family. Ubiquitous, opportunistic, dimorphic, 
and commensal fungi are representatives of this group. The 

velopment of biofilm over abiotic and biotic surfaces are well 
established primary virulence features of the Candida'*". 
Most important features of Candida spp. are the ability to 
form a biofilm, a three-dimensional multicellular structure 
mainly composed of proteins, carbohydrates, phosphorus, 
hexosamine, and, uronic acid. Biofilm facilitates adhesion 
and maturation on the biotic and abiotic surfaces, ranging 
from the mineral surface and mammalian tissues to synthetic 
polymers and indwelling medical gadgets, resulting in drug 

Corresponding Author: 

ISSN: 2231-2196 (Print) 
Received: 15.06.2020 

ISSN: 0975-5241 (Online) 
Revised: 21.07.2020 

Navin Kumar, PhD, Professor, Department of Biotechnology, Graphic Era (Deemed to be University), 566/6, Bell Road, Clement Town, Dehradun, 
Uttarakhand, PIN-248002, India; Contact: +91-7417325585; +91-135-2642799 (217); Email:; 

Accepted: 25.08.2020 Published: 22.09.2020 

Int J Cur Res Rev | Vol 12+ Issue 18 - September 2020 

Kumar et al.: Plants with anti-Candida properties’ 


For decades plants have been known as the primary source 
of medicinal products among common citizens. Addition- 
ally, several countries still used plants as major remedies, 
particularly in Africa and Asia. Several plants had exhibited 
successful anti-Candida activities which are required to be 
tested for efficacy and safety’. 

Global burden of candidiasis 

Candidiasis is due to the Candida albicans and non-albicans 
Candida (NAC) infection, which is mostly known to cause 
high rates of mucosal infection to humans worldwide.! Can- 
dida infects mucosal tissues, including mouth, oesophagus, 
gastrointestinal, vagina, and deep tissue infection'®. Vulvo- 

Table 1: Global burden of candidiasis 

vaginal candidiasis (thrush or yeast infection) continues to 
be a worldwide health problem for women!”!’. Candida in- 
fection is common in hospitalized patients having a weak 
immune system or immunocompromised patients and el- 
derly people !°. More than 30 species of Candida have been 
recognized as the causative agent of candidiasis and approxi- 
mately 95% of the contaminations are caused by its four spe- 
cies: C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, C. glabrata, and C. tropi- 
calis ™?, 

Nearly 50% of individuals have Candida yeast in the oral 
cavity which is responsible for the superficial infection. 
However, Candida infection can spread through the body 
and can end-up in life-threatening incidences, specifically in 
immunocompromised patients 777°. 

The global burden of candidiasis is given in Table-1. 

Candida spp. related disease. Annual Incidence Global Burden Reference 
1. Mucosal 
A. Oral candidiasis ~2,000,000 ~2,500,000 1 
B. Oesophageal candidiasis ~ 1,300,000 1 
C. Vulvovaginalcandidiasis/Recurrent vulvovaginal ~138,000,000 ~372,000,000 17 
2. Acute invasive 
A. Invasive candidiasis ~750,000 3 
3. Candida balanitis 3-4% of uncircumcised males 24 

Drug resistance 

Azoles and its derivatives (fluconazole, voriconazole, Itra- 
conazole, ketoconazole) are primarily used antifungals **”°. 
Isolates of Candida have been reported to develop resist- 
ance to the existing antifungals (fluconazole, anidulafungin, 
caspofungin, micafungin, etc). According to the Centers for 
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, NIH, USA), about 
7% of all Candida bloodstream isolates tested at CDC were 
resistant to fluconazole and about 1.5% were resistant to 
Echinocandin (Figure 1). 


2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 

m Fluconazole resistance 
E Echinocandin resistance 

m Multi-drug resistance 

Percent of isolates with resistance 

Figure 1: Drug Resistance in Candida sp. isolates during 
years, 2009-2017. 

(Photo Source: CDC Report) 

Increasing resistance to selected drugs encouraged the clini- 
cal practice of other drugs also e.g. amphotericin B, echino- 
candins, terbinafine, etc. as shown in Table-2 along with its 
mode of action. 

Plants with anti-candida properties 

Plants and their extracts have been used in traditional medi- 
cine since prehistoric times due to its availability and effi- 
cacy without toxicity”. Plants produce numbers of natural 
active compounds for defence against fungi, insects, and her- 
bivorous mammals. And many more phytoactive compounds 
have biological activities*. The use of herbal medicines has 
been widely accepted in many developed and developing 
countries. Herbal remedies are widely used in Asia, mainly 
India and China, and are now getting popularity in the UK 
and Europe, as well as in North America and Australia®*>. 
WHO estimated that around 80% population of the develop- 
ing countries (like Latin America, Asia, Africa, etc.) depends 
on traditional therapy based on herbal medicines for their 
primary health care needs. In the year 2000, the global trade 
of medicinal plants and their products was reported to be 
US$ 60 billion, with a projected forecast to touch US$ 5 tril- 
lion by 2050%. India and China are the top global exporters 

Int J Cur Res Rev | Vol 12 + Issue 18 e September 2020 

Kumar et al.: Plants with anti-Candida properties’ 

Table 2: Synthetic anti-Candida drugs 

S. No. Drug Mechanism of action Reference 

1 Amphotericin B Binds to the fungal ergosterol and causes pores in the cell mem- 26, 27 

2 Azoles Inhibits the cytochrome P450 14a-sterol demethylase (CYP51), thus 28,29 
the inhibitor of 
biosynthesis of ergosterol. 

3 Echinocandins Inhibits the 1,3-B-D-glucan, a cell wall component. 27, 30 

4 Terbinafine Inhibits ergosterol biosynthesis by inhibiting squalene epoxidase 31, 32 

(catalyses the conversion ofsqualene to lanosterol) 

of herbal drugs due to its systematic traditional knowledge of 
plant-based medicines and culture. 

In the modern era, natural products are the source of bioac- 
tive substances with possible medical uses in pharmacy and 
dentistry. Natural ingredients include essential oils and their 
elements and can form part of several classes of compounds, 
most commonly phenylpropenes and terpenes with antioxi- 
dant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and curative properties 
6. Looking at the rising demand for plant-based drugs, we 
tried to compile the details of plants showing anti-Candida 
properties (Table-3). 

Table 3: Plants having anti-Candida properties 

Table 3: Plants having anti-Candida properties 
Table-3 is an effort to compile some recent studies in the 
subject matter in a tabulated form. 

Biofilm is an important pathogenic implication of the Can- 
dida to survive the existing synthetic drug, which is respon- 
sible for drug resistance. Some of the plant extracts and their 
phytoactive compounds have exhibited remarkable anti-bio- 
film properties; e.g. Berberis vulgaris,” Buchenaviatomen- 
tosa Eichler,“ Cinnamomum zeylanicum,” Curcuma longa 
L.“ Matricaria chamomilla,” Peganum harmala L.** and 
Sanguinaria Canadensis ®'. Berberine, Sanguinarine, Har- 

Sr. No. Botanical Natural habitat Phytoactive MIC (ug/ml) Candida species Ref. 
Name constituents 
1 Acacia dealbata Native to south-eastern Phenolic, Flavonoid, Tannins. 7920+ 1520 C.albicans 37 
Australia in New South (ATCC 10231) 
Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, 
and warm temperate, and 
highland tropical landscapes 
2 Aframomum Widespread Monoterpenes (Monoterpene 256 C. albicans (ATCC 38 
citratum across tropical hydrocarbons, B-Myrcene), 9002) 
Africa as well as Oxygen-containing monoter- 1,54 Calbicans (ATCC 
on some islands penes (Geraniol) 1663) 
of the Indian 
Ocean 256 C.albicans IS1 
512 C.parapsilosis 
1024 C.parapsilosis 
(ATCC 22019) 
512 C.krusei (ATCC 
1024 C.krusei 
1024 C.tropicalis (ATCC 
2048 C.lipolithica 
256 C.haemophilus 

Int J Cur Res Rev | Vol 12 - Issue 18 + September 2020 

Table 3: (Continued) 

Sr. No. Botanical 


3 Aframomum 

4 Allium cepa. 

5 Allium hirtifolium. 

6 Allium sativum 

7 Alpinia galangal L. 

8 Aloe barbadensis 

9 Berberis vulgaris 

Kumar et al.: Plants with anti-Candida properties’ 

Natural habitat 

West tropical Africa - Sierra 
Leone to Central African 
Republic, south to Angola. 


Asian species of onion 
native to central and south- 
western Asia. 

Native to central Asia and 
north eastern Iran 

Mediterranean region of 
Europe and Africa 

Native to central and south- 

Europe, northwest 

Africa and western Asia 


Monoterpenes (monoterpene 
hydrocarbons, beta- pinene, 
limonene), oxygen-contan- 
ingmonoterpenes (eucalyptol, 
alpha-terpineol), sesquiterpe- 
nes (sesquiterpenes hydro- 
carbons, trans-beta-caryo- 
phyllene), oxygen-containing 
sesquiterpenes (caryophyl- 
lene oxide) 





Cyclopropanecarb-oxylic acid, 

Cyclopropane, 1-methyl-1-(1- 



MIC (pg/ml) 













25,000 -50,000 





Candida species 

C.albicans (ATCC 

C.albicans (ATCC 


(ATCC 22019) 

C.tropicalis (ATCC 



C. albicans (ATCC 

C. albicans (clini- 
cal isolate) 

C. albicans (clini- 
cal isolate) 

C. albicans (ATCC 

C. albicans (clini- 
cal isolate) 

C. albicans (ATCC 

C. albicans (clini- 
cal isolate) 

C. tropicalis 

C. glabrata 

C. albicans 

C. albicans (ATCC 


C. glabrata 
(ATCC 90030) 
C. albicans 
(clinical isolate) 

C. glabrata (clini- 
cal isolate) 







Int J Cur Res Rev | Vol 12+ Issue 18 - September 2020 

Kumar et al.: Plants with anti-Candida properties’ 

Table 3: (Continued) 

Sr. No. Botanical Natural habitat Phytoactive MIC (ug/ml) Candida species Ref. 
Name constituents 
10 Boswellia carterii NR Essential oils 1250 C. albicans 43 
1250-2500 C. albicans 
(clinical isolate) 
1250 C. tropicalis 
(ATCC 750) 
1250-2500 C. glabrata 
(clinical isolates) 
1250 C. krusei 
(clinical isolate) 
1250 C. albicans 
u Buchenavia tomen- NR NR 625 C. albicans 44 
tosa, Eichler (SC5314) 
12 Calamus leptospadix Native to tropical and Saponin 60 C. albicans 45 
Grif subtropical Asia, Africa, (ATCC3007) 
& Australia 
13 Camellia sinensis NR NR 0.125 C. albicans 46 
0.125-0.250 C. tropicalis 
0.125 C. parapsilosis 
0.125-0.250 C. glabrata 
14 Canarium luzonicum Native to the Philippines Essential oils 2500 C. albicans 43 
(clinical isolate) 
2500 C. albicans 
2500 C. tropicalis 
2500 C. krusei 
(clinical isolate) 
2500 C. glabrata 
(clinical isolate) 
15 Cinnamomum zey- South - West India and a -Pinene, Benzaldehyde, 70 C. albicans (ATCC 47 
lanicum Sirlanka 1,8 -cineole, Limonene, Lin- 10231_ 
A A -Cinnamaldehyde, 1120 C. albicans (ATCC 
ugenol, 8 
(E)-Cinnamy] acetate. 90028) 
<40 C. parapsilosis 
(ATCC 90018) 
10.45+ 1.00 C. albicans (clini- 
cal isolated) 
16 Curcuma longa L. Native to the Indian sub- Curcumin 250 C. albicans (ATCC 48,49 
continent and Southeast 10261) 
Asia 500 C. albicans (ATCC 
500 C. tropicalis 
(ATCC 750) 
1000 C. albicans 

(clinical isolate) 

250 C. albicans 
(clinical isolate) 

500 C. glabrata 
(clinical isolate) 

Int J Cur Res Rev | Vol 12 - Issue 18 + September 2020 

Table 3: (Continued) 

Sr. No. Botanical 

17 Desmodium gange- 

18 Euphorbia hirta L. 

19 Glycyrrhiza glabra L. 

20 Hypericum havvae 

21 Justicia adhatoda L. 

22 Matricaria chamo- 

23 Mentha piperita L. 

24 Morus alba L. 

25 Peganum harmala L. 

Kumar et al.: Plants with anti-Candida properties’ 

Natural habitat 


Native to India 

native to the Western 
Asia and southern Europe 

worldwide distribution 

The plant's native range is 
the Indian subconti- 
nent (Nepal , Sri Lanka). 


Europe and Middle East 

Native to northern Chi- 
na and India 



Flavonoids, Glycosides, 

Free flavonoids, 
Bound flavonoids 


Phenolic compounds (hy- 
pericin, hyperforin) 

Vasicine, a quinazoline 


Essential oil 

Essential oil 

Tannins and 


MIC (pg/ml) 











1.50 + 0.16 



Candida species 

C. albicans (MTCC 

C. albicans 

(MTCC 1637) 

C.albicans (clini- 
cal isolates) 

C. pseudotropi- 
calis (clinical 

C. albicans (ATCC 

C. tropicalis 
(ATCC 13808) 

C. guilliermondii 

(ATCC 6260) 
C. krusei 

C. glabrata 


C. albicans 



C. albicans 

C. albicans (LM- 


C.tropicalis (LM- 


C. albicans (ATCC 





Int J Cur Res Rev | Vol 12 + Issue 18 e September 2020 

Kumar et al.: Plants with anti-Candida properties’ 

Table 3: (Continued) 

Sr. No. Botanical Natural habitat Phytoactive MIC (pg/ml) Candida species Ref. 
Name constituents 
26 Retama raetam Native to northern Africa Isoflavone (Derrone) 7.81 C.albicans (ATCC 
from the Western Sahara 90028) 
7.81 C. glabrata (ATCC 
7.81 C.parapsilosis 
7.81 (ATCC 22019) 
C. kreusei (ATCC 
7.81 C.albicans (ATCC 
Licoflavone C 15.62 C. albicans (ATCC 
15.62 C. glabrata(ATCC 
15.62 C.parapsilosis 
(ATCC 22019) 
15.62 C.kreusei (ATCC 
27 Rhizoma coptidis Native to China NR >1024 C. albicans(ATCC 40 
128 C. tropicalis 
(ATCC 750) 
64 C. glabrata (ATCC 
>1024 C. krusei (ATCC 
28 Ruta graveolens L. It is native to the Balkan Volatile oils 35.10 + 0.02 C.albicans (ATCC 60 
Peninsula 26790) 
29 Sanguinaria canaden- Native to eastern North Sanguinarine 4 C. albicans 61 
sis America (SC5314) 
30 Sapindus saponaria L. Native to the Americaand Carbohydrates and triterpe- 300-600 C. albicans (ATCC 62 
India nes 90028) 
300-600 C. albicans 

(clinical isolate) 

600 C. glabrata 
(clinical isolate) 

31 Scutellaria baicalensis Nativeto Baicalein B C. albicans (ATCC 63 
China, Korea, 64548) 
Mongolia, and Russia 26 C. albicans (ATCC 
104 C. tropicalis 
52 C. tropicalis 
(ATCC 200956) 
13 C. parapsilosis 
(ATCC 22019) 
13 C. parapsilosis 

Int J Cur Res Rev | Vol 12 - Issue 18 + September 2020 

Kumar et al.: Plants with anti-Candida properties’ 

Table 3: (Continued) 

Sr. No. Botanical Natural habitat Phytoactive MIC (ug/ml) Candida species Ref. 
Name constituents 
32 NA NA Eugenol 625 C. albicans 64 
625 C. auris 
33. NA NA Methyl Eugenol 1250 C. albicans 64 
1250 C.auris 
34 NA NA Thymol 625 C. albicans 64 
312 C.auris 
35 NA NA Carvacrol 250 C.albicans 64 
125 C.auris 
36  Unonopsis duckei NR Polycarpol 250 C.albicans 65 
(ATCC 10231) 
250 C. albicans 
(ATCC 1023) 
250 C.dubliniensis 
(ATCC 778157) 

*NA: Not applicable; NR: Not reported 

maline, Curcumin, and many other phytoactive compounds 
have been reported to decrease the viability of Candida bio- 
film significantly*48461, 


Since the prehistoric period, plants have been the source of 
medicine in different countries like India and China. Ac- 
cording to a WHO report, approximately 80% of the premier 
health issues in developing countries depend on traditional 
medicine. Currently, the scientific research community and 
government health agencies are focusing on the studies re- 
lated to the bioactive compounds. Phytoactive compounds 
are generally safe and easily available for commercial-scale 
drug production. Therefore, it’s encouraging to develop an 
effective and safe drug against microbial human pathogens 
from natural resources. Nature holds ample resources for 
the discovery of new and highly effective herbal drugs. It 
may be concluded from the table-3 that two plants Camellia 
sinensis and Hypericum havvae have remarkable anti-Can- 
dida properties and can be used to develop alternative anti- 
Candida drugs. Camellia sinensis have shown promising 
results against many pathogenic species of the Candida e.g. 
C. albicans, C. parapsilosis, C. Tropicalis, and C. Glabrata, 
and Hypericum havvae was effective against C. glabrata, C. 
kreusei, C. parapsilosis, C. guilliermondii, and C. tropicalis. 

Acknowledgement: Authors acknowledge the immense 
help received from the scholars whose articles are cited and 
included in references of this manuscript. The authors are 

also grateful to authors / editors / publishers of all those ar- 
ticles, journals and books from where the literature for this 
article has been reviewed and discussed. 

Source(s) of Funding: No funding is involved. 

Conflicting Interest: The authors declare no conflicting in- 


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