Proximate Composition and Phytochemical Analysis of Clotalaria laburnifolia leaves
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Green leafy vegetables are exploited in African cultures for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. C. laburnifolia a green leafy vegetable native to East and Southern Africa is used among the Langi community of Northern Uganda as a food source and the extracts from the leaves are used to treat malaria. Due to the lack of scientific information about the nutritional and phytochemical profile of this plant, the current study was conducted to estimate the different nutrients available, phytochemicals that could give it the antimalarial property and also the antioxidant activity. Proximate analysis of the sample was done on a dry basis using standard methods for crude ash, crude protein, and crude fiber, moisture content, crude fat and total carbohydrates was got by subtracting the summation of the values from the dry analysis from100. The moisture content of the fresh sample was also analyzed. The moisture content of the fresh sample was 81% while that of the dry sample was 6.37±0.001%.The crude fat was 4.5±0.00%, crude ash was 9.07±0.002%,crude fiber was 11±0.01%, crude protein was 18.16±0.31% while total carbohydrate was 50.9%. It is a rich source of protein. The proximate composition of this plant did not show much variation from most species with in the same genus Crotalaria most especially C. retusa. The different nutrient constituents make it a very good food source. Among the phytochemicals tested, alkaloids were absent while flavonoids, saponins and terpenoids were all present. These particular phytochemicals have been shown in various studies to have antimalarial properties in different plants and could also be responsible for the antimalarial activity of C. laburnifolia. The extracts from the leaves also had a higher radical scavenging activity than ascorbic acid. Therefore, the plant has a very high pharmacologic potential.