Samuel Chidi Iwuji1*, Arthur Nwafor 2, Taofik Oladimeji Azeez1, Emmanuel Chibuike Nwosu3, Joakin Chidozie Nwaokoro4, Jude Egwurugwu5, Nygan Bala Danladi6
1.Department of Biomedical Technology, School of Health Technology,
Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria.
2.Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
3.Biomedical Engineering and Medical Imaging Unit, Department of Human Biology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, South Africa.
4 Department of Public Health Technology, School of Health Technology, Federal University of Technology Owerri, Nigeria
5.Department of Human Physiology, Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, Imo State University Owerri, Nigeria.
6.Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria.
Evaluation of the nutritive and electrolyte values of edible plants is currently essential for human nutrition and safety. This work assessed the proximate and mineral composition of the leaves of Chaya plant (Cnidoscolus aconitifolius) consumed in Niger Delta Nigeria for medicinal and nutritional purposes. Chaya is commonly known in this southern area of Nigeria as ‘hospital is too far’ or ‘ogwu obala’. The study showed that the dried leaves of the plant contain 47.03 ±1.02% of nitrogen free extract; 33.04± 3.14% of crude fibre; 7.03±0.23% of crude fat; 4.03±0.67% of crude protein, while moisture and ash made up 6.10±1.10% and 3.04±0.32%, respectively. A gram of the dried leaves yielded (in mg) 10±1.2, 20±1.6, 0.01±0.1, 100±5.3, 85±4.32, 18±2.1 and 50±2.3 of Iron, Phosphorus, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Manganese and Calcium, respectively. The energy yield of the leaves was 258±4.5kcal/100 mg. These results suggested the comparative richness of the leaves in fibre, high nitrogen free extract (carbohydrate) and essential minerals. Properly prepared leaves are therefore recommended for daily consumption in order to supplement the recommended daily intake of nutrients and minerals and hence prevent nutritional and electrolyte deficiency disorders.
Keywords: Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, Nutritional, Electrolytes, Values, Niger Delta