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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 11-14

Phytochemical evaluation of the ethanolic extracts of some Nigerian herbal plants


Department of Science Laboratory Technology (Physiology and Pharmacology Technology), University of Jos, Plateau State, Nigeria

Date of Web Publication8-Jan-2015

Correspondence Address:
Enegide Chinedu
Department of Science Laboratory Technology (Physiology and Pharmacology Technology), University of Jos, Plateau State
Nigeria
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2394-2002.148882

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  Abstract 

Background: Herbs basically, are plants or plant parts employed due to their scent, medicinal properties or flavor. Herbal medicines have longed been used in the management and treatment of various ailments even before the arrival of modern medicine. Herbal medicines are still being used today, as it has even gained a new momentum in the field of medicine. Phytochemicals are responsible for eliciting definite physiological effects of various herbs in the body. In Nigeria, various plants are being used traditionally in the treatment of divers ailments. Some of these plants include Tapinanthus bangwensis, Tamarindus indica, Ocimum gratissimum, Allium sativum, Kigelia africana, Azadirachta indica, Solanum virginianum, Myrianthus serratus and Vernonia amygdalina. Though there have been claims of success in their traditional usage, it is however important to carry-out phytochemical assessment on them. Aim: The aim was to evaluate the phytochemical constituents of the ethanolic extract of these plants. Materials and Methods: The plant materials were extracted, and the plant extracts were screened for the presence of various phytochemical constituents such as alkaloids, steroids, glycosides, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids, carbohydrate, saponins, tannins and anthraquinones using the standard methods. Result: The experimental result revealed the presence of the various bioactive phytochemicals in the different plant extracts investigated. These phytochemicals were however present in different proportions in the various plant extracts. Conclusion: The experimental result vindicates the usage of these plants traditionally for medicinal purposes.

Keywords: Ethanolic extracts, herbs, phytochemical


How to cite this article:
Chinedu E, David A, Ameh SF. Phytochemical evaluation of the ethanolic extracts of some Nigerian herbal plants. Drug Dev Ther 2015;6:11-4

How to cite this URL:
Chinedu E, David A, Ameh SF. Phytochemical evaluation of the ethanolic extracts of some Nigerian herbal plants. Drug Dev Ther [serial online] 2015 [cited 2017 Jun 25];6:11-4. Available from: http://www.ddtjournal.org/text.asp?2015/6/1/11/148882


  Introduction Top


Herbs basically, are plants or plant parts employed due to their scent, medicinal properties or flavor. Herbal medicines have longed been used in the management and treatment of various ailments even before the arrival of modern medicine. Herbal medicines are still being used today, as it has even gained a new momentum in the field of medicine. [1],[2],[3] Statistics by the World Health Organization reveals that about 3.5-4 billion people globally depend on herbal medicines for the treatment of several ailments. [4] However, it is now eminent that the medicinal properties/value of various herbs is a function of the phytochemicals present in them. These phytochemicals are responsible for eliciting definite physiological effects of various herbs in the body. [5] Phytochemicals are pharmacologically active, naturally occurring chemicals present in plants and plant parts. [6] Reports have shown the capability of plant phytochemicals to elicit various physiological response. [7] Hence, in assessing the physiological effect as well the pharmalogical efficacy of a plant/herb, phytochemical screening is very vital. In Nigeria, various plants are being used traditionally in the treatment of divers ailments. Some of these plants include Tapinanthus bangwensis, Tamarindus indica, Ocimum gratissimum, Allium sativum, Kigelia africana, Azadirachta indica, Solanum virginianum, Myrianthus serratus and Vernonia amygdalina. Their traditional uses have been documented in [Table 1]. Though there have been claims of success in their traditional usage, it is however important to carry out phytochemical assessment on them. This is to ascertain if they contain phytochemicals capable of eliciting such physiological responses. The aim of this research therefore, is to evaluate the phytochemical constituents of the ethanolic extract of these plants.
Table 1: Plants, part under investigation and traditional uses


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  Materials and Methods Top


Collection of plant materials

The different plant materials: T. bangwensis (leaf), T. indica (fruit), O. gratissimum (leaf), A. sativum (bulb), K. africana (back), A. indica (leaf), S. virginianum (leaf), M. serratus (leaf) and V. amygdalina (leaf) were harvested from various herbal gardens in Benin and Jos. Identification and authentication was done by Mr. Jeff Azila of the Federal College of Forestry, Jos.

Extraction of plant materials

The plant materials collected were washed with water to remove dirt and dried under room temperature for 2 weeks. The dried plant materials were powdered using mortar and pestle after which it was filtered using a manual filter. The powdered plant materials were separately mounted on the Soxhlet extractor and extracted with 70% ethanol for 48 h. The extraction process was done as prescribed by Wall et al. [8],[9]

Phytochemical screening

The extracts of T. bangwensis, T. indica, O. gratissimum, A. sativum, K. africana, A. indica, S. virginianum, M. serratus and V. amygdalina were screened for the presence of various phytochemical constituents such as alkaloids, steroids, glycosides, cardiac glycosides, flavonoids, carbohydrate, saponins, tannins and anthraquinones using standard method as prescribed by Trease and Evans. [10]

Test for alkaloids

A total of 0.5 g of each extract was stirred with 3 ml of aqueous hydrochloric acid (1%) on a steam bath: 1 ml each of the filtrate was treated with few drops of Mayer's reagent, Dragendorff's reagent and Picric acid solution. Occurrence of precipitation with any of these reagents was taken as preliminary proof for the presence of alkaloid in the extract. [10],[11]

Test saponins

A total of 0.5 g of each plant extract was shaken with water in a test tube. Frothing which persist on warming was taken as preliminary proof for the presence of saponins. [8],[9]

Test for tannins

Then 0.5 g of each extract was stirred with 1 ml of distilled water, filtered and then ferric chloride reagent was added to the filtrate. The appearance of blue-black, green or blue, green precipitate was taken as proof for the presence of tannins. [10]

Test for anthraquinones

Borntrager's test was done to detect the presence of anthraquiones. 0.5 g of each extract was placed into a dry test tube, and then 5 ml of chloroform was added and shaken with an equal volume of 100% ammonia solution. Appearance of pink, violet or red coloration in the lower layer indicates the presence of free antraquinones. [10]

Test for glycoside

One hundred milligram of each extract was taken in a test tube, and then 2.5 ml of dilute sulfuric acid was added and boiled in a water bath for 15 min. The solution was cooled and neutralized with 20% potassium hydroxide solution. Later, 5 ml of a mixture of Fehling's solution A and B was added and boiled for 3 min. A brick red precipitate appearance shows the hydrolysis of a reducing sugar, an indication of glycoside.

Keller-Killinani test for cardiac glycoside

One hundred milligram of each extract was dissolved in 1 ml of glacial acetic acid containing one drop of ferric chloride solution. This was then underplayed with 1 ml of concentration of sulfuric acid. A brown ring appearance at the interphase indicates the presence of a deoxysugar, a characteristic of cardenolides. [10]

Salkowski test for steroidical ring

One hundred milligram (100 mg) of each extract was dissolved in 2 ml of chloroform. Then, sulfuric acid was added to form a lower layer. Appearance of reddish brown coloration at the interface indicates the presence of steroidal ring. [12]

Test for flavonoids

Two grams (2 g) of each extract was completely detanned with acetone. The residue, after evaporating the acetone on a water bath was extracted in warm water. The mixture was filtered while hot, and the filtrate was cooled and used for the following test.

Lead acetate test for flavonoids

Lead acetate solution was added to 5 ml of the distilled water extract. The appearance of yellow colored precipitate indicates the presence of flavonoids.

Sodium hydroxide test for flavonoids

To equal volume of the detanned water extract, 5 ml of sodium hydroxide 20% was added. Appearance of yellow solution indicates the presence of flavonoids.

Test for carbohydrates

One hundred milligram (100 mg) of each plant extract was dissolved in 3 ml of distilled water and then mixed with few drops of molisch reagent (10% solution of a naphthol in alcohol). Then 1 ml of concentrated sulfuric acid was added down the side of the inclined tube, with forming a layer beneath the aqueous solution without mixing it. The appearance of reddish or violet ring at the junction of the liquids indicates the presences of carbohydrate. [13]


  Result Top


The experimental result as have been documented in [Table 2], shows the presence of alkaloids in all the extracts in different quantities. Saponins was absent in O. gratissimum, A. sativum and K. africana, but was however present in the rest extracts. Tannins and cardiac glycosides were present in all the extracts except in A. indica extract in which they are absent. Flavonoids, carbohydrates and steroids were present in all the extracts, while anthraquinones was absent in all the extracts screened.
Table 2: Phytochemical screening


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  Discussion Top


The study has revealed the presence of various phytochemicals in the extracts known to produce therapeutic and physiological activities. [14] This may serve as a justification for the traditional usage of the plants in the treatment of different ailments. The phytochemicals screened for included alkaloids, saponins, tannins, flavonoids, carbohydrates, steroids, cardiac glycosides and anthraquinones. The result from the experiment as have been documented in [Table 2] shows the presence of alkaloids in all the extracts in different quantities. Saponins was absent in O. gratissimum, A. sativum and K. africana, but was however present in the rest extracts. Tannins and cardiac glycosides were present in all the extracts except in A. indica extract in which they are absent. Flavonoids, carbohydrates and steroids were present in all the extracts, while anthraquinones was absent in all the extracts screened. Alkaloids have been known to produce analgesic, antidiarrheal, antimicrobial and anthelmintic activities. Saponins have been said to produce antiulcer, antidiarrheal and antimicrobial activities. Reports have also shown the antimicrobial, anthelmintic, antiinflammatory properties of tannins. The antidiarrheal and antimicrobial properties of flavoids have also been documented. While steroids and cardiac glycosides, have been reported to produce both antihypertensive and antidiarrheal activities. [5],[15],[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22],[23],[24],[25],[26],[27],[28],[29] The result obtained from the study therefore suggests that the phytochemicals identified in plant extracts may be the bioactive components responsible for the pharmacological activities of the plants investigated. This may to an extent serve as a justification for their traditional claims and usage.{Table 2}


  Conclusion Top


The experimental result has shown the presence of various bioactive phytochemicals in the different plant extracts investigated. These phytochemicals have been reported to produce some therapeutic and physiological effects in the body. This vindicates the usage of these plants traditionally for medicinal purposes. It is also an indication that these plants may serve as raw materials for the development of new drugs. It is also concurrent with the previous publication by the authors Chinedu et al., [3] stating that herbs are a reliable source for drug discovery and development. The authors therefore suggest that further work aimed at establishing the mechanism of action of these plants should be carried-out.


  Acknowledgment Top


The authors would like to appreciate Tech. Enegide Patrick Asua and Prof. Ignatius Okafor for their technical support.

 
  References Top

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    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2]



 

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Abstract
Introduction
Introduction
Materials and Me...
Result
Discussion
Conclusion
Acknowledgment
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