In tradictional setting, Spondias mombin is used in the management of different ailments. This has been attributed to its rich phytochemical and antioxidant properties. Therefore, this study evaluated the phytochemical as well as antioxidant activity of aqueous extracts of Spondiasmombin. The extracts of Spondiasmombin were investigated for phytochemical such as tannins, saponins, alkaloids,total flavonoids, total phenol and proanthocyanidin, while the in vitro antioxidant activity were determined using ferrous metal chelating assay, antioxidant power assay, ferric reducing antioxidant power (FRAP) assay, 1,1-diphenyl-2,2-picry-hydazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging assay. Result obtained for phytochemical studies reveal that phenolic content was highest in the aqueous extract of Spondiasmombin stem bark as against aqueous extract of Spondias moimbin root which have a low phenolic content. Also, proanthocyanidin was highest in aqueous extract of Spondaismombin root and low in aqueous extract of Spondiasmombin stem bark. Qualitative study show the presence of the various pyhtochemicals in varying amounts, however, alkaloid were absent in both aqueous extract of spondiasmombin root and stem bark, tannins were present only in aqueous extract of Spondiasmombin stem bark, while cardiac glycosides were present only aqueous extract of Spondiasmombin stem bark. The aqueous extract of Spondiasmombin stem bark showed the best IC50 value (2.66 ×109) for 1,1-Diphenyl-2,2-picry-hydazyl (DPPH) radical scavenging activity, when compared with root extract, but, was significantly (p<0.05) higher than that of the standard, vitamin C (1.281). Also, aqueous extract of Spondiasmombin stem bark showed the best IC50 for ferrous metal chelating assay when compared with the root extract, but was significantly (p<0.05) higher than that of standard, (EDTA) (4.031). Therefore, Spondiasmombin has a great potential for use as a natural source of antioxidants against free radical damage.
In recorded history, medicinal plants have been in use for the treatment of man and animal diseases (Osai et al., 1997). Nowadays the crude extracts and dry powder samples from medicinal and aromatic plants, and their species have been used for the development and preparation of alternative traditional medicine food addictives (Marino et al., 2001). A plant becomes a medicinal plant only when its biological activity has been ethno-botanically reported or scientifically established. In 1978, the World Health Organization (WHO) emphasized the importance of scientific research in the area of herbal medicine.
Biological activities of Spondias mombin include; uterine stimulant actions; smooth muscle relaxant actions; uterine antispasmodic (Uchendu et al., 2008); sedative and anticonvulsant actions, and anti-anxiety actions; anti-inflammatory (Nworu et al., 2011). It has antimicrobial effects that are reported to be as broad spectrum as ampicillin and gentamycin (Abo et al., 1999). Spondiasmombin is also reported to have antibacterial, anti-viral, sedative, anti-epileptic and has anti-psychotic and anti-oxidant effects (Ayoka et al., 2006). Our survival and continued existence in turn depends on the efficiency with which man, with all the resources and technology available to him harnesses, develops and utilizes plants and plant products. The objective of this study is to establish the antioxidant activity of the plant extracts, to screen for and identify the secondary metabolites present in the plant extracts.
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