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Thaumatococcus daniellii and Musa accuminata are leaves used for wrapping foods and these herbs have some medicinal value. The affordability, preservation, usage techniques, and seasonal scarcity of the leaves make it difficult for people to use them frequently but they are preferred over plastic bags and aluminum foil in terms of wrapping edible foods like beans pudding (moi-moi), agidi, etc and fresh foods like uncooked meat, vegetables etc. This research work involved phytochemical screening, proximate analysis, and nutrient evaluation of the leave extracts of T. daniellii and M. accuminata .The extraction methods used were, hot / cold water maceration method and soxhlet extraction method on the Thaumatoccocus daniellii (sweet prayer leave) and Musa accuminata (banana leave). Phytochemical analysis showed the presence of alkaloids (+), tannins (+), glycosides (+), flavonoids (+),and steroids (+) present in cold water , hot water , and methanol extracts on the T. daniellii leaves. For the banana leave, the results obtained were as followed: alkaloids (+), tannin (+), glycosides (+),flavonoid (+), and steroids (-) in cold water extract, hot water extract and methanol extract. The proximate analysis was carried out on the samples evaluating the composition of ash content (20%), crude fibre (0.01%), moisture content (0.596%), crude protein (15.75%) for T. daniellii and M. accuminata, ash content (27%), crude fibre (0.01%), moisture content (00.82%), crude protein (13.13%). Nutrient evaluation was also carried out on the two samples. For T. daniellii, Ca (0.16mg/L), Mg (2.05mg/L), Na (nil), K (0.10mg/L), and Fe (nil).For M. accuminata, it contains Ca (0.19mg/L), Mg (2.45mg/L), Na (0.01mg/L), K (0.81mg/L) and Fe (0.36mg/L).
1.1 Background of Study
Anything natural appears as it was made by nature therefore natural products are the starting point of all the synthetic compounds or products. Natural product such as plant extract, either as pure compounds or as standardized extracts help students, scientists, or researchers in discovery of novel products like drugs (for viral, fungi, bacterial and inflammatory and chemotherapeutic agents) and starting or intermediate chemicals (like phenol, benzene, food supplements like vitamins and minerals, fibres etc) for production of goods for human consumption. Twenty first century people are now going back on the natural products by using herbs to cure their diseases and to keep their body system fit.
Phytochemical analysis is a study of natural product compounds known as metabolites e.g alkaloids, steroids, glycosides, tannins, saponins, flavonoids etc. Metabolites are natural chemicals or products that are synthesized by enzymes of plants through photosynthetic process or by the aid of chlorophyll, sunlight, water and carbon dioxide. Proximate analysis is the study of nutrient values present in a specific natural extracts such as leafs, roots, seeds, stem etc of a plants.
Medicinal plants are plants which have a recognized medical use by test or experiment. They range from plants which are used in the production of mainstream pharmaceutical products to plants used in herbal medicine preparation. Medicinal plants can be found growing in numerous setting all over the world.
Herbal medicines are the finished labeled medicinal product that contains active ingredients, aerial or underground parts of the plant or other plant material or combination (Chakraver et al, 1993, Chaudhari et al, 1996,Ritch, 2000).Herbal preparation constitute valuable natural resource from which chemicals of potential interest for medicine, agriculture, industry and other areas can be identified and isolated (Sneader et al, 1985).Socio-cultural backgrounds of people are more of herbal medicine like Yoruba’s way of life towards medicine. T. daniellii and M. accuminata are among those herbs that might have such medicinal properties.
Sweet Prayers Leaf (Thaumatococcus daniellii)
Thaumatococcus daniellii leaves used for this research were purchased from New Market, Enugu (Originally collected from Ihum village in Biast local government area, Calabar in Cross-River State). The plant is a perennial, monocotyledonous herb and it is propagated by its rhizomes. It has longer slender stalks that can grow up to about two meters or more in terms of height. The leaves are broad and some are small depending on the rate of nutrient adsorption of their roots, also greenish colour. It has parallel venation. T. Daniellii is herb known as pretty plant to a lay man and some call it sweet prayers. It grows on dry land and swampy area, the dry land herbs do sprout a wine colour leaves on their earlier stage and a pale green leaves on maturity while the other is mainly greenish from its early stage to matured stage. The leaves are used for wrapping some Nigeria foods like moi-moi, agidi jellof, uza aki (Enugu state native food), to give the food taste and hold a particular shape before selling or serving it.
Banana leaves of the specie Musa accuminata is one of the local wrapping leaves that excel due to its function and necessity in some regions of Nigeria. People especially the old men often use the greenish leaves of it for wrapping of fresh meat. Banana plants are herbaceous perennials. They are mostly foliage, with stems made of rolled leaf layers. The plant leaves, which are up to 9 feet long and 2 feet wide, unfurl from these stalks. Banana plants are a common fruit crop. In some areas, gardeners grow them for ornamental reasons. But banana leaves also offer nutritional and medicinal benefits in addition to having other values. For meals, the wrapped banana leaves that form the plant’s stem contain starch, which is extracted through a fermentation or cooking process. People in some parts of the world use the resulting flour for baking. The starch is also cooked into glue. Both leaves have medicinal values.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEMS
· The usefulness of the leaves in herbal medicine to cure diseases.
· The beneficial quality of the two leaves to health.
· Nutritional content each of the leaves possesses as wrapping leaves.
The wrapping leaves Thaumatococus daniellii and Musa acuminate extracts that were gotten from cold method and soxhlex extraction contain significant amount of alkaloids, flavonoids, taninines, giycosides, and steroids but more concentrated in the Thaumatococus daniellii.
1.4 AIM / OBJECTIVES
The aim is to investigate two commercially available leaves (Thaumatococcus daniellii and Musa accuminata) used for wrapping foods.
The objectives are as follow:
· Determination of phytochemicals present.
· To anayse for the following parameters, ash content, crude fibre, crude protein and moisture content of the leaves.
· To determine the content of Na, Fe, Ca, Mg and K present in the leaves.
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