Plant Foods for Human Nutrition

, Volume 48, Issue 4, pp 341–348 | Cite as

Chemical composition of indigenous wild herbs, spices, fruits, nuts and leafy vegetables used as food

  • S. C. Achinewhu
  • C. C. Ogbonna
  • A. D. Hart


Thirty wild fruits, nuts, herbs, spices and leafy vegetables were characterized and their chemical composition determined. Some of them were not only used for food, but for medicine in minor aliments by the natives. Results of the proximate analysis showed that on dry weight basis, the crude protein content ranged from 4.6 to 22.1 percent for spices and herbs, 3.2 to 43.1 percent for fruits and nuts, and 15.9 to 35.7 percent for leafy vegetables. The fat (ether extract) ranged from 7.5 to 36.0 percent for spices and herbs, 1.8 to 72.6 percent for fruits and nuts and 10.6 to 22.6 percent for leafy vegetables. Total carbohydrate content ranged from 34.6 to 71.9 percent for spices and herbs, 11.3 to 76.1 percent for fruits and nuts, and 24.6 to 51.4 percent for leafy vegetables. The wild fruits, nuts and leafy vegetables are high in ascorbic acid (Vitamin C.) Ascorbic acid content ranged from 18 mg/100 g dry sample to 113 mg/100 g sample for fruits and nuts, and 23 mg/100 g to 232 mg/100 g sample for leafy vegetables. The levels for peroxide value and free fatty acids (as percent oleic acid) of the spices are generally low indicating good storage stability of these plant materials. The flavour imparting essential oils (as percent oleoresin) content of the spices/herbs were fairly high and ranged from 0.1 to 5.2 percent.

Key words

Composition Fruits Herbs Nuts Vegetables Wild plants 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. C. Achinewhu
    • 1
  • C. C. Ogbonna
    • 1
  • A. D. Hart
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and TechnologyRivers State University of Science and TechnologyPort HarcourtNigeria

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