The rhizomes of Curcuma longa (turmeric, Zingiberaceae), Zingiber officinale (ginger, Zingiberaceae) and the dried fruit of Xylopia aethiopica (Annonaceae) have long history of usage as spices in Nigeria. They are either used singly or in combination, with numerous health benefits. This study aimed to investigate the comparative chemical constituents of essential oils of Curcuma longa rhizome, Zingiber officinale rhizome and Xylopia aethiopica fruit. The essential oils were obtained by Hydrodistillation. The yield of essential oils was 3.5%, 4.0% and 2.6% (v/w) respectively. The essential oil constituents were identified by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). The major volatile bioactive constituents of Xylopia aethiopica dried fruit were 3-carene (9.62%), terpineol (5.98%), pinocarveol (5.94%), ?-pinene (5.43%), eucalyptol (5.13%), pinocarvone (4.93%), ?-phellandrene (4.43%), and limonene (3.75%). The major phytocompounds found in Zingiber officinale rhizome essential oil were camphene (33.6%), 4-thujanol (27.24%), ?-pinene (10.59%), ?-citral (7.35%), ?-citral (6.3%), and myrcene (3.09%). The major volatile components found in Curcuma longa rhizome were Ar-tumerone (21.86%), ?-phellandrene (12.63%), curlone (8.61%), eucalyptol (5.24%), ?-sesquiphellandrene (4.7%), zingiberene (4.59%), and linalool (3.47%). Constituents common to the essential oils of Curcuma longa, Zingiber officinale and Xylopia aethiopica were ?-pinene, ?-phellandrene and terpineol.
Keywords: Curcuma longa, Zingiber officinale, Xylopia aethiopica, essential oil.