1.1       Background of the Study

Plants have been an important source of medicine for thousands of years. Even today, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that up to 80% of people still rely primarily on traditional remedies such as herbs for their medicines. The medicinal value of these plants is due to the presence of a variety of phytochemicals and their elemental composition. The role of medicinal plants in disease prevention or control has been attributed to the antioxidant properties of their constituents, usually associated with a wide range of amphipathic molecules that are broadly referred to as polyphenolic compounds. There is a growing interest in the development and evaluation of natural antioxidants from medicinal plant materials in the food industry and the field of preventive health care. Among those herbs, one promising species is Bombax costatum leaves, which is native to the sub-Himalayan regions of Northwest India. It is widely distributed throughout Africa, Saudi Arabia, Southeast Asia, the Caribbean Islands, and South America. Every part of Bombax costatum leaves has medicinal properties and is commercially exploitable for the development of medicinal and industrial by-products.

Traditionally, the leaves, fruits, flowers, and immature pods of this tree are edible; they are used as a highly nutritive vegetable in many countries, particularly in India, Pakistan, the Philippines, Hawaii, and some African nations. In developing nations, Bombax costatum leaves is used as an alternative to imported food supplements to treat and combat malnutrition, especially among infants and nursing mothers, by virtue of its chemical constituents. Several valuable reviews of the ethno botanical uses of Bombax costatum leaves are available. It has been found to be a good source of polyphenols and antioxidants. Phytochemicals such as vanillin, omega fatty acids, carotenoids, ascorbates, tocopherols, beta-sitosterol, moringine, kaempferol, and quercetin have been reported in its flowers, roots, fruits, and seeds. The leaves, in particular, have been found to contain phenolics and flavonoids; these compounds have various biological activities, including antioxidant, anticarcinogenic, immunomodulatory, antidiabetic, antiatherogenic, and hepatoprotective functions and the regulation of thyroid status. Moreover, leaves contain trace elements that are essential to human health. For instance, magnesium, iron, selenium, and zinc play an important role in metabolism, and interest in these elements is increasing together with reports relating trace element status and oxidative diseases. However, a recent study has shown that dried Bombax costatum leaves contain lead at very high values of 352.0 mg/L. Therefore, it is very important to identify the mineral composition of Bombax costatum leaves that are widely consumed by humans and animals.

In Mexico, Bombax costatum leaves are widely cultivated in different zones of the country and are found in more than ten states from Sonora to Oaxaca on the Pacific side. Few studies have been conducted on nutritional and phytochemical composition; however, to date, a detailed composition of the leaves of Bombax costatum leaves that is native to Mexico has not been reported yet. In addition, it is important to bear in mind that the mineral and phenolic contents present in leaves depend on several factors such as geographical area where the plant is cultivated, type of soil, water and fertilizers, industrialization process, and storage conditions.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The following forms the statement of problem of study of this research work;

  1. A major setback in the commercial utilization of African herbs is the lack of adequate and consistent data. Most of the published data collected on the nutritional, phytochemicals and microbial inhibitory content of Bombax costatum leaves, are at variant from each other.
  2. Also, lack of information on the properties of the leaves has led to no processed products from the leaves.
  3. Efforts made so far to optimize the economic and to a lesser extent the nutritional value of the leaves has emphasized its microbial and phytochemical content have largely ignored how other components, especially the herb properties could also be utilized to supplement the medicinal needs of the consumer.
  4. Most studies aimed at fortifying limited knowledge towards the leaves application medicinally have been discouraged due to its inherent microbial content.

1.3       Objectives of the Study

The aim of this study was to evaluate the phytochemical, nutritional and microbial inhibitory content present in Bombax costatum leaves grown in Nigeria with a little trace of its inherent medicinal constituents. Specific objectives include;

  1. Improve the general awareness of the nutritional, phytochemicals and microbial content of the leave under study
  2. Show practically how the Nutritional and phytochemical content of the leave can be used medicinally.
  3. Elaborate the phytochemical content of the leave


1.4       Research Questions

  1. What is the general level of awareness of the nutritional, phytochemicals and microbial content of Bombax Costatum leave?
  2. What are the medicinal applications of Bombax Costatum leave?
  • What are the Phytochemical constituents of Bombax Costatum leave?

1.5       Significance of the Study

It is expected that at the end of this research work, the researcher will have been able to express the nutritional, phytochemical and microbial content of Bombax costatum leave. Knowledge of this tree leave will enhance and broaden people’s perceptive of it and its inherent applications. This study will be of immense benefit to other researchers who intend to know more on this study and can also be used by non-researchers to build more on their research work. This study contributes to knowledge and could serve as a guide for other study.

1.6       Scope of the Study

This research work is aimed at investigating successfully the Nutritional, phytochemicals and microbial inhibitory content of Bombax costatum leaves in the laboratory. To effectively achieve this, a step by step rudiments was ensured in where the Nutritional, phytochemicals and microbial content was first ascertained as well as the properties.

The research details presented here only shows the Nutritional, phytochemicals and microbial inhibitory content of Bombax costatum leaves with a little introduction of its medicinal uses and implications.


1.7       Limitations of the study

The demanding schedule of respondents at work made it very difficult getting the respondents to participate in the survey. As a result, retrieving copies of questionnaire in timely fashion was very challenging. Also, the researcher is a student and therefore has limited time as well as resources in covering extensive literature available in conducting this research. Information provided by the researcher may not hold true for all businesses or organizations but is restricted to the selected organization used as a study in this research especially in the locality where this study is being conducted. Finally, the researcher is restricted only to the evidence provided by the participants in the research and therefore cannot determine the reliability and accuracy of the information provided.

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.8       Definition of Terms

Nutritional constituents: Detailed sets of information on the nutritionally important components of foods and provide values for energy and nutrients including protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals and for other important food components such as fibre.

Phytochemicals: Phytochemicals (from Greek phyto, meaning “plant”) are chemicals produced by plants through primary or secondary metabolism. They generally have biological activity in the plant host and play a role in plant growth or defense against competitors, pathogens, or predators.

Microbes: Microbes are tiny living things that are found all around us and are too small to be seen by the naked eye. They live in water, soil, and in the air. The human body is home to millions of these microbes too, also called microorganisms. Some microbes make us sick, others are important for our health.


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