Since immemorial times, herbs have been used for medicinal purposes in every culture worldwide. Ancient Chinese and Egyptian papyrus writings describe medicinal uses for herbs as early as 3000 BC. Even the indigenous cultures such as African-Native American and Ayurveda civilization used herbs in their healing rituals and also in medicinal therapies. Long history of traditional uses of plants, more affordable, possess variety of medicinal values, potentially wide safety margin and lower side effects of plant extracts have suggested them as sources of new pharmaceuticals choice (Chairgulprasert et al., 2005). This situation has led the investigation of their bioactive compound which resulted in the determination and detection of their therapeutic properties (Sharma et al., 2010). Recently, the WHO estimated that 80% of people worldwide rely on herbal medicines for some part of their primary health care. In Malaysia, it is estimated that almost 73% of Malaysian use traditional or herbal medication in their daily basis (FRIM, 2012) and it had contributed over million dollars profit to the pharmaceuticals industry with estimation of 15% of market value expansion from RM7 billion in 2010 to around RM29 billion by 2020 (Bernama, 2013). The uses of herbal medicines in Malaysia are based on the practical experiences, observations from other ethnic’s practices, and rituals derived from socioreligious beliefs passed down from one generation to another. These practices have been observed within the Malay communities and claim to be important for reasons of health and well-being (Mustafa, 2003). Examples of commercialized herbs product that are available in the market nowadays include Orthosiphon aristatus (misai kucing), Piper armentosum (daun sireh), Eurycoma lonifolia (tongkat ali), Labisa pumila (kacip Fatimah), Andropgraphis paniculata (hempedu bumi), Centella asiatica (pegaga), Phyllanthus niruri (dukung anak), Momordica charantia (peria), Monida citrifolia (mengkudu).
Averrhoa bilimbi, also known as Bilimbi or Belimbing Asam is a medicinal plant belonging to the family Oxalidaceae. It is closely related to Averrhoa carambola (starfruit). Averrhoa bilimbi is an important medicinal plant used as it has been used in the traditional medicine for the treatment of a variety of ailments, maintaining good health and well-being in many countries. The plant part itself holds great value in traditional medicine as evidenced by the substantial amount of research on it as the leaf can be used as an antibacterial, anticancer, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, astringent, postpartum protective medicine, treatment of fever, treatment of itches, skin eruptions and wounds, bites of poisonous creatures, rheumatism and cough (Husain et al., 2010). Meanwhile the fruit is employed in the treatment of pimples, scurvy, hypertension, obesity, and also diabetes (Alsarhan et al., 2012). Despite its beneficial uses, there is questionable information on the bioactive compounds present in this plant which possess the antifungal properties specifically. It is reported that A. bilimbi plant extract have wide margin of pharmacological activities for example the evidence of antimicrobial and other activity which accredited to its saponins, tannins, terpenoids and flavanoids compound (Anupama et al., 2013). Also, there was also a previous study reported by Nazmul et al., (2011) which proving the leaves extracts of Averrhoa bilimbi had shown minimum antifungal activity against several fungi species. Considering from this report and previous report by Marouf et al., (2012) and Maria et al., (2013) the antifungal effect of these plants extracts may be due to the flavanoid and tannin compound present in them. There is an urgent need to identify and isolate the bioactive constituents of this plant responsible for antifungal activities as isolation and identification of bioactive compounds of different parts of Averrhoa bilimbi will provide an insight into the biochemical mechanism action of this plant and may also serve as lead for future antifungal drug development.