PHYTOCHEMICAL ANALYSIS OF SOME BRANDS OF BITTERS SOLD IN AKWA IBOM STATE
Goko cleanser, Teco cleanser and Goody Cleanser are poly-herbal mixtures that are sold in large commercial quantities in Akwa Ibom State. Due to their perceived therapeutic values and relative affordability; the poly-herbal mixtures are highly patronized by the citizens of the State. This study was therefore carried out to screen for the phytochemical constituents of these herbal mixtures. The quantitative and qualitative analyses were carried out. The qualitative analysis was done using Association of Analytical Chemists (AOAC) method. The qualitative phytochemical analysis reveals that all the herbal mixtures were rich in alkaloids, phenols, tannins, steroids, coumarins, flavonoids, emodins, proteins and carbohydrates. The quantitative analysis was done in triplicates and the result was statistically analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software 20 with a significant level at (P<0.05). The result showed that Goko cleanser has a high concentration of saponins (21.48±0.11) and also abundant in alkaloids (16.23±0.06). Teco cleanser was shown to be abundant in Saponins (35.37±0.00), flavonoids (17.99±0.01) and alkaloids (12.81±0.00). Goody cleanser was highly concentrated with alkaloids (12.10±0.00).
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Herbal mixtures have been the strength of traditional medicine for years now. In recent times, many authors have conducted several researches works on herbal mixtures to determine its therapeutic effects (Udochukwu et al., 2015; Amandeep et al., 2015; Huzaifa et al., 2014; Feng et al., 2014; Gazuwa et al., 2013; Ekor, 2013; Akinjogunla et al., 2011; Nnodim et al., 2010; Duncan, 1957; and Hill, 1952;). Over three quarter of the world’s population is using herbal medicine with an increasing trend globally. In addition, herbal medicine may be beneficial but not completely harmless (Oreagba et al, 2011). Phytochemicals are present in a variety of plants utilized as important components of both human and animal diets. These include fruits, seeds, herbs and vegetables (Okwu, 2005). Diets containing an abundance of fruits and vegetables are protective against a variety of diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases. Herbs and spices are accessible sources for obtaining natural antioxidants (Okwu, 2004). Phytochemicals are chemical compounds formed during the plants normal metabolic processes. These chemicals are often referred to as “secondary metabolites of which there are several classes including alkaloids, flavonoids, coumarins, glycosides, gums, polysaccharides, phenols, tannins, terpenes and terpenoids (Harborne, 1973; Okwu, 2004).
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Bitters are beverages, often alcoholic that is flavoured with herbal essences that give it a bitter flavour. They are produced from root and herb extracts of plants and spices. Bitters are marketed as a “cure-all” patent medicine in Nigeria and a lot of them have never been subjected to scientific scrutiny (Anionye and Onyeneka, 2016). The generic term applies to all bitter liquors and herbal bitters. Bitters are produced from herb and root extracts, from the narcotic components of (primarily) tropical and subtropical plants and spices. Herbal bitters are much sought after for their health benefits and they have become regular medicines in many Nigerian homes. The use of herbal bitters is an alternative way to compensate for some perceived deficiencies in orthodox pharmacotherapy (Sofowora, 1989). Herbal medication has been reported ethnomedically to prevent, treat, manage and cure several diseases from cough to cancer. This proven efficacy has resulted in great patronage for any product that comes with the name ‘herbal’. A lot of these herbal bitters have not been investigated to ascertain their phytochemical constituents. It is therefore very essential to investigate the phytochemical constituents of these herbal bitters to know the right constituents that are beneficial to health and to also investigate some other probable constituents that are harmful to health.
1.3 GENERAL OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY
Akwa Ibom State, a fast growing city is witnessing an unprecedented growth in the area of businesses. One of such businesses is the tremendous rate at which herbal bitters are being displayed and sold in the state. Different brands of herbal bitters are produced while others are brought into the state for merchandise. This research is therefore aimed at investigating the phytochemical constituents of these bitters.