Journal of
Medicinal Plants Research

  • Abbreviation: J. Med. Plants Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1996-0875
  • DOI: 10.5897/JMPR
  • Start Year: 2007
  • Published Articles: 3834

Full Length Research Paper

Underutilized medicinal plants and spices: Chemical composition and phytochemical properties

M. A. Belewu*, O. A. Olatunde and T. A. Giwa
Microbial Biotechnology and Dairy Science Laboratory, Department of Animal Production, University of Ilorin, Kwara State, Nigeria.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 13 November 2009
  •  Published: 31 December 2009


Six plants and spices were examined for their possible efficacy as medicinal plants in a completely randomized design model. The proximate composition of the samples showed greatest crude protein content for Vernonia amygdalinaand Ocimum gratissimum, followed by Allium sativum and Citrus aurantifoliaand then Khaya senegalensis and Zingiber officinale. The higher ether extract content was reported for V. amygdalina and O. gratissimum while the least was recorded for A. sativum. The crude fibre content was highest for V. amygdalinafollowed closely by O. gratissimum and the least was C. aurantifoliaZ. officinalehad the highest ash content compared to other samples. The phytochemical screening revealed the presence of some major groups of pharmaceutical compounds like alkaloids, tannin, saponin, polyphenols, flavonoids and sterols. Tannin, saponin and alkaloids were present in almost all the samples while flavonoids, polyphenols were found in K. senegalensis and O. gratissimum. Sterols were absent in all the samples except O. gratissimum, K. senegalensisand V. amygdalina. Flavonoids was founds strongly in K. senegalensis, V. amygdalina but mildly in O. gratissimum and A. sativum. Conversely, alkaloids were absent in Z. officinale and A. sativum, Conclusively, the values of the plants and spices in traditional medicine and the importance of the proximate composition and chemical compounds in the pharmaceutical, food and livestock industries were discussed.


Key words: Phytochemical, proximate composition, medicinal plants, spices.