Ethnopharmacological properties of Vernonia amygdalina (Bitter Leave) medicinal plant
Odangowei I Ogidi, Dienize G George and Ngozi G Esie
Vernonia amygdalina (bitter leave) plant is a medium sized shrub with abundant bitter principles in every part of it. All parts of the plant; roots, stems and leaves are pharmacologically useful. Vernonia amygdalina plant is used in phyto-medicine to treat fever, hiccups, kidney disease and stomach discomfort among others. Phytochemical, proximate and mineral compositions of the leaves, stems and roots of Vernonia amygdalina (bitter leave) plant was analyzed using the standard method of Association of Analytical Chemist (AOAC) and Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometric (AAS) method. The qualitative phytochemical result showed that the plant sample contain alkaloids, tannins, saponins, terpenoids, glycosides, phenols and flavonoids. Quantitatively, the result ranges from alkaloids 12.78 ± 11.41%, tannins 6.30 ± 3.44%, saponins 3.20 ± 1.40%, flavonoids 2.37 ± 0.68%, terpenoids 1.30 ± 1.18% and phenols 0.54 ± 0.36%. Proximate result ranges from (2.40 ± 2.24%) moisture, (0.50 ± 0.36%) ash, (5.77 ± 2.86%) protein, (0.55 ± 0.38%) lipid, (2.48 ± 1.62%) fiber, (97.76 ± 97.60%) dry matter and (94.30 ± 91.70%) nitrogen free element (NFE). Mineral results ranges from 145.36 ± 140.38ppm, 82.63 ± 73.73ppm, 86.61 ± 54.74ppm, 60.38 ± 53.98ppm, 5.03 ± 4.25ppm, 1.78 ± 0.86ppm, 0.62 ± 0.39ppm, 0.48 ± 0.31ppm, 0.70 ± 0.29ppm for Ca, Mg, Na, K, Fe, Mn, Cu, Zn and PO4 respectively. The presence of these biomolecules in the plant explains the pharmacological potentials of Vernonia amygdalina roots, stems and leaves in therapeutic uses such as an antimalarial, antidiabetic, fertility agent, anti-cancer, anti-ulcer and cardio-protective agent. Also the leafy vegetables if consumed in sufficient amount would contribute greatly to the nutritional requirement for human health and to the food security of Nigerian population.