We review the antibacterial and antifungal activities of Piper aduncum L. (Piperaceae), a plant used in traditional medicine in South America and Central America, to treat skin and genitourinary infections and gastrointestinal disorders. Literature search in databases like Scopus, PubMed, Scielo and NAPRALERT resulted in 66 references on the in vitro antibacterial and antifungal evaluation of essential oil, aqueous extract, organic extract, fractions or isolated compunds of P. aduncum against microorganisms of human, veterinary medicine or agriculture interest. P. aduncum synonymies search also yield publications of interest. A bibliometric study was carried out. The number of publications per year has been increased in last 20 years, more productive journals were determined. In total 36 bacteria and 44 fungi were assessed, antifungal activity is more pronounced than the antibacterial activity. Infraspecific geographical distribution of this taxon in Cuba and microbial virulence factors as a possible mechanism of action for this medicinal plant was also discussed. P. aduncum has potential against microorganisms and in vitro research results partly support the traditional use of this plant. Further studies correlating their phytochemical content with antimicrobial activity are required.
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