Analysis of proximate, micronutrients and determination of phytochemicals in selected medicinal plants in Mbita-Homabay County
Oyugi, John Owuor
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About 80% of low income earners in developing countries rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care, hence medicinal plants play an important role in the society. Lannea schweinfurthii, Rhus natalensis and Euclea divinorum, has been extensively used in treating severe headache, dermatological, gastrointestinal, gynaecological, abdominal pains, female sterility among others in several parts of East Africa. In addition, many communities in Kenya including Mbita - Homabay County residents rely on these plants for their medicinal values. Many of the studies done on these plants have focused on isolation and characterization of phytochemicals. However, there is limited information on proximate and micronutrients analysis of these plants. Hence, this study focused on both qualitative and quantitative determination of the phytochemicals, micronutrients and proximate constituents. The analyses were done using conventional standard methods. The study revealed that the plants contained flavonoids, phenols, alkaloids and saponins. Mean levels of flavonoids were found to be 19.80±0.20% in L. schweinfurthii root barks and 9.46±0.12% in L. schweinfurthii leaves. Alkaloids were found to be 7.66±0.24% in E. divinorum leaves and 1.40±0.00% in E. divinorum root barks, saponins were found to be 47.60±0.05% in E. divinorum root barks and 7.65±0.05% in E. divinorum leaves and phenols were 8.54±0.12% in R. natalensis leaves. Proximate analysis revealed varied proportions of moisture, ash, crude protein, crude lipid, crude fibre and carbohydrates in all the plants investigated. The highest % by mass were; moisture content 14.50±0.50% in L. schweinfurthii root barks, crude protein 23.61±0.80% in R. natalensis leaves, crude fibre 1.80±0.20% in R. natalensis root barks, crude lipid 14.66±0.30% in R. natalensis leaves, ash 11.85±0.75% in E. divinorum root barks and carbohydrate 63.39±0.23% in E. divinorum. The dried plant parts were used for the study. Micronutrients analysis revealed presence of Cu, Fe, Zn and Mn which as 1.10±0.01 of R. natalensis leaves, 4.90±0.01 of L. schweinfurthii leaves, 4.50±0.01 of R. natalensis leaves and 2.30±0.01 of E. divinorum leaves in ppm respectively. Pb was 3.10±0.02 in E. divinorum root barks and Cd was not detected. T-test and ANOVA were used to analyze data. The findings provided evidence that crude aqueous and organic solvent extracts of plants studied contain compounds therefore used as traditional medicines. The findings suggested that the selected medicinal plants have a promising potential to cure ailments and maintain a healthy life and should be investigated further to determine the components responsible for activity.