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CHM00132 - CONCENTRATIONS OF THE TRACE ELEMENTS IN LEMON GRASS USING ATOMIC ABSORPTION SPECTROSCOPY AND X-RAY FLUORESCENCE SPECTROSCOPY


CHAPTER ONE

  • INTRODUCTION

Plants are known to contain botanically based minerals for therapeutic and nutritional provision for man because they contain minerals, vitamins and bioactive compounds. Plants are also rich in fibres, and phytochemicals (Vanisha and Hema, 2012).

Lemon grass is known to provide minerals for adequate human nutrition Asaolu, (2009). Lemon grass is a tropical and subtropical plant (Figuevinaha et al., (2008) with medicinal values for treating malaria, ophthalmia, pneumonia, vascular disorders, diarrhea and stomach ache (Vanisha and Hema, 2012). It has also been claimed to anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antimycotic, (Inouye et al., 2007) (Bansod and Rai 2008) vaso-relaxing, diuretic, remedy in treating ringworm infestation, for nervous, gastrointestinal disturbances, fevers and hypertension (Leite et al., 1986).

Cymbopogon citrates belonging to the family Gramineae is an herb worldwide known as lemongrass. The prefix ‘lemon’ owes to its typical lemon like odor, which is mainly due to the presence of citral, a cyclic monoterpene. Cymbopogoncitratusa fast growing, perennial aromatic grass is native to South India and Sri Lanka, now widely cultivated in the tropical areas of America and Asia. Most nutritional problems in Nigeria especially among the vulnerable groups of children and the elderly are linked to lack of minerals in the common diets. Mineral from synthetic mineral supplements are rarely met by the rural population due to their high cost of procurement, besides most of them are toxic to susceptible individuals in the population. To avert the problems of synthetic minerals renewable, available and safe sources, many works have been done to identify plants with potential value for minerals. Mercel and Brevenu (2012) reported the presence of botanical based minerals at safe levels in Urera trimenus and Hippoctatea. myriantha.

Plants and human beings, animal included nutrients to sustain their growth and health. There are mainly two types of nutrients called macronutrients (essential elements) and micronutrients (trace elements) and they can both be obtained from different diets and supplements that are consumed by human beings in particular.

Green tea is a rich source of polyphenols, which are antioxidants in nature. Among the various types of tea, green tea contains a relatively high level of polyphenols, which consist of avanol monomers (avan-3-ols), also referred to as catechins (Chen L., Yang X., Jiao H., Zhao B). Natural antioxidants, such as polyphenols from green tea extracts, have recently attracted considerable attention for preventing oxidative stress-related diseases including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and degenerative diseases (Ogura R., Ikeda N., Yuki K., Morita O., Saigo K., Blackstock C. Kasamatsu T.). Tea plays a major role in terms of the intake of a number of nutritional trace elements in humans. Besides many essential elements required for human health, some toxic elements may also be present in the parts used for the tea. This could be due to contaminated soil, pesticides applications, fertilizers, or industrial activities. Due to the significant amount of tea consumed, it is important to know the toxic metal contents (Karak T., Bhagat R.M).  Though there are limited scientific data on the medical claims of lemon grass, it has been used in traditional medicine for treatment of several ailments (Simon et al., 1984), stated that C. citratus is used in different parts of the world in the treatment of digestive disorders, fevers, menstrual disorder, rheumatism and other joint pains .The infusion or decoction of aerial parts of Lemon Grass has wide spread used in folk medicine. Carlin et al., (1986) has reported that this plant is recommended to treat digestive disorder, inflammation, nervous disorder and fever as well as other health problems used for the preparation of soft drinks and as an aromatic, pleasant- tasting herbal tea all around its distribution area in Peru.

 

1.2       AIM OF THE STUDY

The objectives of this study is to determine concentrations of the trace elements in Lemon grass using atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) and X-ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (XRF), to better understand its nutrients value and verify that it can be consumed without risk to human health.

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

To evaluate the concentration of the elements in extract of its decoction.

To identify the macro elements and elements in Cymbopogon citratus

To evaluate the concentration of the elements in residue obtained from decoction of Cymbopogon citrates.

To evaluate Cymbopogon citrates can be consumed without causing any hazard to human health.