Rice beer is one of the oldest and widely consumed beverages in North Eastern states of India. More than 225 tribes with different cultural background brew this rice beer at their home following age old method of preparations. The preparation of each rice beer is almost similar but each community uses different plants and believes that each of these plants contains unique medicinal property which makes the rice beer the important drink for social functions. The presence of the phytochemicals like polyphenol, alkaloids and flavonoids in the rice beer is contributed by the herbs or plant parts used in the preparation of the starter culture. In the present study, four medicinal plants viz Sphaerostepheras unitus, Drymaria cordata, Elsholtzia blanda and Xanthozylum nitidium used commonly in the processing of traditional rice beer starter culture of Assam were screened for phytochemicals and potential antibacterial activity against 5 bacterial species, namely Salmonella typhi, Escherichia coli, Listeria monocytogenes, Shigella and Serratia. Evaluation of Antioxidant was done by DPPPH and ABTS assay. Quantitative analysis of phytochemicals was done by following standard protocols. Antibacterial activity of ethanolic and methanolic extracts was performed by agar disc diffusion method.The phytochemical analysis showed that the plant extracts contain a mixture of phytochemicals as reducing sugars, cardiac glycoside, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, and alkaloids. The quantitative photochemical and antioxidant assay indicated that the plant extract has potent antioxidant activity which can be an excellent option for biological and chemical analysis and can be further subjected for the isolation of the therapeutically active compounds. It further reflects a hope for the development of many more novel therapeutic agents or templates from such plants which in future may serve for the production of synthetically improved therapeutic agents.
Keywords: Rice beer, Medicinal plants, Antioxidant activity, Antimicrobial activity, Human pathogens