Nutritional Profile Of Medicinal Plants Biology Essay

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India is richly endowed with the wide variety of plants having medicinal value used as folk remedies or as pharmaceutical preparation of modern drugs. Majority of medicinal plants are being used either in the form of extract or decoction by the local people in different regions to maintain good health and also to cure various diseases. The medicinal properties of plants are well recognized owing to the presence of various pharmacologically important phytochemicals. Lot of data has been generated on the functional components of medicinal plants. However, data pertaining to their nutritional composition are still scanty. The present study proposes to determine the nutritional profile of selected medicinal plants of Puttaparthi.

Lack of information revealing therapeutic potential of medicinal plants

Medicinal plants have been identified with wide spectrum of therapeutic potentials such as anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, hypolipidemic and neuro-protective effects. Around 6,000 species of medicinal plants are being used by traditional practioners in the treatment of number of diseases of which only 3,000 plants have been studied extensively for their therapeutic potentials. Moreover, high intake of fats and simple carbohydrates and inadequate intake of plant based foods has resulted in the alarming statistics on cancer, cardiovascular diseases and degenerative and infectious diseases. Therefore, there is pressing need to explore medicinal plants for their phytochemical and therapeutic functionalities.

3.2 Work objectives

To screen a few selected medicinal plants of puttaparthi for their nutritional and functional components.

To evaluate the medicinal potential of these plants for their functional properties such as anti-oxidative and anti-microbial using in vitro protocols.


Procurement of sample

Fresh leaf samples of selected medicinal plants will be collected from local areas of Puttaparthi.

Objective 1: Screening of selected medicinal plants of puttaparthi for their nutritional and functional components.

The fresh leaf samples of medicinal plants will be washed and dried at room temperature. Subsequently, the samples will be ground to fine powder and stored at 5° C until analyzed for nutrient profile and functional components.

Nutritional profile

The dried leaf samples will be analyzed for proximate constituents (AOAC, 1990), minerals viz., calcium (Hawk et al., 1957), iron and phosphorus (Raghuramulu et al., 2003), acid detergent and neutral detergent fiber (Van Soset and Wines, 1967). The solubility of the minerals will be determined by using acid soluble extracts (Peterson et al., 1943).

Phytochemical analysis

Four different solvent systems (aqueous, methanolic, choloroform and hexane) will be used for qualitative screening of total carbohydrates, reducing sugars, glycosides, total polyphenols, flavonoids, tannins, sterols, terpenoids, alkaloids and saponins by the methods of Sofawora (1993) and Trease and Evans (2002).

The quantitative assessment of bioactive components will be carried out for polyphenols (Singleton and Rossi, 1965), flavoniods (Marinova et al., 2005), anthocyanins (Cheng and Breeene, 1991), alkaloids ( ), terpenoids ( ), tannins (Price et al., 1978), vitamin C (Caraway, 1970), phytates (Davies and Reid, 1979), saponins (Gestener et al., 1966) and oxalates (Raghuramulu et al., 2003).

Objective 2: In vitro therapeutic potentiality of the sample extracts will be analyzed to determine anti-oxidant and anti-microbial functionalities.

The methonolic and aqueous extracts of selected medicinal plants will be used for the analysis of various antioxidative assays such as superoxide radical scavenging activity (Nishhikimi et al., 1972), hydroxyl radical scavenging activity (Chung et al., 1997), ferric ion chelating activity (Hsu et al., 2003), reducing power (Oyaizu, 1986), ferric reducing antioxidant power (Benzie and Strain, 1967), reduced glutathione (Boyne and Ellaman, 1972). The antioxidant activities of the mushroom extracts were compared with standard antioxidants (vitamin C and BHT).

Anti-microbial properties of the selected plant samples would be assessed by using disc diffusion method (Bauer et al., 1966) evaluating minimal inhibiting concentrations against pathogenic microorganisms. Anti-bacterial activities would be screened using gram-positive (Bacillus subtilis, Proteus vulgaris, Staphylococcus aureus), gram-negative (Escherichia coli, Pseudomanas aeruginosa, Kliebsiella pneumonia), and anti-fungal organisms such as Candida albican and Cryptococcus niformus. Microorganisms will be cultured aerobically at 37° C in nutrient agar medium for bacteria and at 30° C in dextrose agar medium for fungi.

Statistical analysis

The data obtained for chemical composition will be subjected to one-way ANOVA followed by Duncan's test (Gupta, 2007). The difference was tested at p<0.01 and p<0.05 levels.

The data obtained for antioxidant and anti-microbial potentials at different concentrations would be subjected to two-way ANOVA followed by Duncan's test (Gupta, 2007). The difference will be tested at p<0.01 and p<0.05 levels. Correlation test will be applied to study the relationship between antioxidant and anti-micobial potentials with phytochemicals viz., polyphenols, flavonoids, vitamin C, saponins and tannins. The significance of observed correlation was observed at p<0.01 and p<0.05 levels.

3.4 Timeline of proposed work



Time period


Survey of medicinal plants of Puttaparthi

2 months


Nutrient analysis of selected medicinal plants

4 months


Standardization of protocols for assay of phytochemicals in medicinal plants and in vitro therapeutic potential

3 months


Screening for phytochemicals and assessing in vitro functional properties in selected medicinal plants

3 months

Deliverables and Outcomes

Identification of medicinal plants of Puttaparthi with good profile of nutritional and functional components.

Isolation and identification of phytochemicals responsible for anti-oxidant and anti-microbial activities and the estimation of these functionalities.

Future Observations

Some medicinal plants phytoremediation properties as they can produce certain specific secondary metabolites which can detoxify some toxic metals such as cadmium, mercury, arsenic, aluminum etc.

Use of alternative medicine has become increasingly popular. Several species of medicinal plants have tremendous scope for incorporation to routine dietary supplements for development of dietetic foods for varied disease conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disorders and cancers- the major challenging disorders of today.