Preliminary Investigation into the Chemical Properties of Peperomia pellucida L.
The leaves of Peperomia pellucida were studied with the aim of investigating the nutritional and phytochemical properties. Proximate composition and phytochemical properties were analyzed using standard procedures, while mineral compositions were determined with UV/Visible and atomic absorption spectrophotometers. Data were reported as mean of triplicates. Proximate analysis showed a high ash content; the crude fibre content was higher, while the carbohydrate content was observed to be the highest. Mineral analysis showed very low contents of manganese, iron, zinc and copper being the lowest, but high sodium content was observed. Phytochemical screening revealed the presence of alkaloids, cardenolides, saponins and tannins, while anthraquinones was observed to be absent. A result from this present study indicates an affirmation of the use of this plant in management of various ailments. The observed chemicals are responsible for its medicinal properties. The additive or synergistic action of these chemicals and their compounds at target sites associated with physiological process may be responsible for the beneficial effects exerted by Peperomia pellucida.
to cite this article:
R.U. Egwuche, A.A. Odetola and O.L. Erukainure, 2011. Preliminary Investigation into the Chemical Properties of Peperomia pellucida L.. Research Journal of Phytochemistry, 5: 48-53.
Received: September 10, 2010;
Accepted: December 18, 2010;
Published: February 26, 2011
Plants have long played a significant role in maintaining human health and
have also served as food for humans. WHO estimated that over 80% of the earths
inhabitants rely on traditional medicine for their primary health care needs,
and most of this therapy involves the use of plant extracts or their active
components (Winston, 1999).
Peperomia pellucida is an annual, shallow-rooted herb that belongs to
the family Piperaceae (Ghani, 1998). It is found in various
shaded, damp habitats all over Asia and the America, growing in clumps, thriving
in loose, humid soils, tropical and subtropical climate. It usually grows to
a height of about 15 to 45 cm and is characterized by succulent stems, shiny,
heart-shaped, fleshy leaves and tiny, dot-like seeds attached to several fruiting
spikes (Dos-Santos et al., 2001).
The ethnomedical properties of P. pellucida is well known. It is used
for treating abdominal pain, abscesses, acne, boils, colic, fatigue, gout, headache,
renal disorders, and rheumatic joint pain (Ragasa et
al., 1998; Khan and Omoloso, 2002). In Bolivia,
the whole plant is used to stop hemorrhages by Alteños Indians. The roots
are used to treat fevers and the aerial parts are used as dressing for wounds
(Munoz et al., 2000). In northeastern Brazil,
the plants have been used as a hypocholesteremic agent (Bayma
et al., 2000). It is a popular cough suppressant, emollient, and
diuretic in Guyana and the Amazon as well as effective in the treatment of proteinuria
(Arrigoni-Blank et al., 2002; De
Fatima Arrigoni-Blank et al., 2004). A decoction of the plant is
used in the Philippines to decrease uric acid levels and to treat renal problems.
It is also used topically for skin disorders such as acne and boils.
The pharmacology properties of P. pellucida are well documented. Aziba
et al. (2001) reported that the analgesic properties of P. pellucida
seem to be related to its effect on prostaglandin synthesis. Anti-inflammatory,
chemotherapeutic and analgesic properties have been found in crude extracts
of P. pellucida. It may have potential as a broad spectrum antibiotic,
as demonstrated in tests against Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis,
Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Escherichia coli (Bojo
et al., 1994). Chloroform extracts from dried leaves of P. pellucida
have been shown to exhibit antifungal activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes
(Ragasa et al., 1998). No clinical data have
been reported on human toxicity.
This study reports the preliminary investigation into the chemical properties of Peperomia pellucida with the aim of investigating its nutritional and phytochemical qualities.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Plant material: Peperomia pellucida were harvested from a nearby
bush close to the Biochemistry Department, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.
They were identified and authenticated at Herbarium of the Department of Botany,
University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. The leaves were hand-picked and air-dried
at room temperature. When dried, they were grounded to fine powder, using a
laboratory mill and stored in air-tight containers for laboratory analysis.
This study was carried out at the Biochemistry Department, University of Ibadan,
Ibadan, Nigeria from January, 2008 too February, 2008. All analysis was carried
out in triplicates.
Proximate analysis: Proximate analysis was carried out using the standard
procedures of the AOAC (1997).
Mineral analysis: Mineral contents were determined on aliquots of the
solutions of the ash of the dried leaf sample by UV/Visible and atomic absorption
spectrophotometers (AOAC, 1997).
Phytochemical analysis: The qualitative phytochemical properties of
the dried powdered sample were determined using standard methods described by
Harborne (1993), Boham and Kocipai
(1994), Ebrahimzadeh et al. (2008) and Nabavi
et al. (2008).
Statistical analysis: Data were reported as mean of triplicates. Statistical analyses were carried out using SPSS for Windows, version 14.0 (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL.USA).
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
P. pellucida was observed to have high ash content (20.00%); the crude fiber content was higher (22.35%); with carbohydrate content the highest value (38.97%). The fat content was observed to be very low (1.08%) (Table 1).
The calcium content of P. pellucida was observed to be 1.82%; magnesium was observed to be 0.62%; while that of potassium was 0.59% (Table 2).
|| Proximate composition of Peperomia pellucida
|Data are mean of triplicates
Phytochemical screening of P. pellucida revealed the presence of alkaloids, tannins and cardenoloids. Anthraquinones was observed to be absen (Table 3).
Plants have played a significant role in maintaining human health and improving
the quality of human life for thousands of years, and have served humans well
as valuable components of food and medicines (Winston, 1999).
The chemical properties of plants have been shown to be responsible for these
nutritional and healing properties (Setchell and Cassidy,
1999). This study reports the chemical properties of P. pellucida.
The high crude fiber and carbohydrate contents compared favourably to studies
by Aliyu et al. (2009) which reported high contents
in Anisopus mannii (Asclepiadaceae). Food fibers have been shown to aid
absorption of dietary minerals as well as reduce absorption of cholesterol (Aliyu
et al., 2009). The observed ash content was higher than those reported
on other medicinal plants such as Senna-siamea (Cassia Leaves): 17.93%
(Alli Smith, 2009); Anisopus mannii (Asclepiadaceae):
10.36% (Aliyu et al., 2009); and B. falcatum:
4.68% (Adnan et al., 2010). It was however lower
than those of F. tenacissima: 24.38 and V. officinalis: 27.91%
(Adnan et al., 2010). The high ash content is
an indication of the high mineral contents of the leaves of P. pellucida.
The crude protein content compared favourably with and in most cases surpassed
those reported for most medicinal plants (Abolaji et al.,
2007; Aliyu et al., 2009; Adnan
et al., 2010). This signifies the healing properties of P. pellucida
as proteins are essential for the synthesis/repair of body tissues and as enzymes
(Vaughan and Judd, 2003). The low fat content corroborates
the findings of many authors which show that leafy vegetables are poor sources
of lipids (Ejoh et al., 1996). Due to the general
low level of crude fat in vegetable leaves and its high level of total unsaturated
fatty acid, their consumption in large amounts would be beneficial to individuals
suffering from overweight or obesity.
The health benefits of dietary minerals are well established. P. pellucida
was observed to have a sodium concentration of 17.11 ppm which is rather too
low compared to that observed by Adnan et al. (2010)
on F. tenacissima (314 ppm) and L. angustifolia (375 ppm) respectively.
The observed low sodium concentration makes the plant a potent herb in the management
of hypertension, as high sodium content has been shown to contribute to hypertension
in susceptible individuals, leading to increased calcium loss in urine (Wardlaw,
1999). The concentrations of the other micro mineral studied were observed
to be very low compared to other medicinal plants (Adnan
et al., 2010; Njoku and Akumefula, 2007).
The pharmacological and biochemical actions of phytochemicals have been widely
reported by Amadi et al. (2006). Phytochemical
screening of P. pellucida revealed the presence of alkaloids, cardenolides,
saponins and tannins. Alkaloids have been reported to be the most efficient
therapeutically significant phytochemical (Njoku and Akumefula,
2007). Stray (1998) reported that pure isolated alkaloids
and their derivatives are basic medicinal agents because of their analgesic
antispasmodic and bacterial properties. The hypocholesterolemic effect of saponins
have been reported by Price et al. (1978), this
may be attributed to its intra-luminal physicochemical interactions which reduces
the uptake of certain nutrients including glucose and cholesterol (Alli
Smith, 2009). The pesticidal activity of saponins has also been reported
(Irvine, 1961). Saponin-glycosides are very toxic to cold-blooded
organisms, but apparently not to mammals (Hostettmann and
Marston, 1995; Hall and Walker, 1991), thus indicating
the pesticidal potentials of P. pellucide. Tannins are widely classified
as an antinutrient which affects protein digestibility and metal ion availability,
but recent reports suggest that free or protein-complex condensed and hydrolysable
tannins are more effective than small phenolics as antioxidants (Hagerman,
A result from this present study is an affirmation of the use of this plant in management of various ailments. The observed chemicals are responsible for its medicinal properties. The additive or synergistic action of these chemicals and their compounds at target sites associated with physiological process may be responsible for the beneficial effects exerted by P. pellucida.
Abolaji, O.A., A.H. Adebayo and O.S. Odesanmi, 2007.
Nutritional qualities of three medicinal plant parts (Xylopia aethiopica
, Blighia sapida
and Parinari polyandra
) commonly used by pregnant women in the western part of Nigeria. Pak. J. Nutr., 6: 665-668.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Adnan, M., J. Hussain, M.T. Shah, Z.K. Shinwari and F. Ullah et al
Proximate and nutrient composition of medicinal plants of humid and sub-humid regions in North-West Pakistan. J. Med. Plant Res., 4: 339-345.Direct Link |
Amadi, B.A., C.O. Ibegbulen and A.C. Egbebu, 2006.
Assessment of the effect of aqueous extract of pawpaw (Asimina triloba
) root on organ weights and liver functions of albino rats. Int. J. Natl. Applied Sci., 2: 79-81.
Official methods of analysis of the Association of Analytical Chemists. 16th Edn., Association of Official Analytical Chemist, Washington, DC., USA
Arrigoni-Blank, M.F., R.L. Oliveira, S.S. Mendes, P.D.A. Silva and A.R. Antoniolli et al
Seed germination, phenology and antiedematogenic activity of Peperomia pellucida
(L.) H.B.K. BMC. Pharmacol., 2: 12-19.Direct Link |
Aziba, P.I., A. Adedeji, M. Ekor and O. Adeyemi, 2001.
Analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida
aerial parts in mice. Fitoterapia, 72: 57-58.CrossRef | PubMed | Direct Link |
Bayma, J.D., M.S. Arruda, A.H. Muller, A.C. Arruda and W.C. Canto, 2000.
A dimeric ArC 2 compound from Peperomia pellucida
. Phytochemistry, 55: 779-782.
Bohm, B.A. and M.R. Koupai-Abyazani, 1994.
Flavonoids and condensed tannins from leaves of Hawaiian Vaccinium reticulatum
and V. calycinum
(Ericaceae). Pac. Sci., 48: 458-463.Direct Link |
Bojo, A.C., E. Albano-Garcia and G.N. Pocsidio, 1994.
The antibacterial activity of Peperomia pellucida
(L.) HBK (Piperaceae
). Asia Life Sci., 3: 35-44.
Craig, W.J., 1999.
Health-promoting properties of common herbs. Am. J. Clin. Nutr., 70: 491S-499S.PubMed | Direct Link |
De Fatima Arrigoni-Blank, M., E.G. Dmitrieva, E.M. Franzotti, A.R. Antoniolli, M.R. Andrade and M. Marchioro, 2004.
Anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity of Peperomia pellucida
(L.) HBK (Piperaceae). J. Ethnopharmacol., 91: 215-218.CrossRef | PubMed | Direct Link |
Dos-Santos, P.R.D., D.L.D. Moreira, E.F. Guimaraes and M.A. Kaplan, 2001.
Essential oil analysis of 10 Piperaceae
species from the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Phytochemistry, 58: 547-551.PubMed |
Ebrahimzadeh, M.A., S.J. Hosseinimehr, A. Hamidinia and M. Jafari, 2008.
Antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity of Feijoa sallowiana
fruits peel and leaves. Pharmacologyonline, 1: 7-14.
Ejoh, A.R., F.T. Mbiapo and E. Fokou, 1996.
Nutrient composition of the leaves and flowers of Colocasia esculenta
and the fruits of Solanum melongena
. Plant Food Hum. Nutr., 49: 107-112.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Ghani, A., 1998.
Medicinal Plants of Bangladesh. Asiatic Society of Bangladesh, Dhaka, Bangladesh, pp: 77-78
Hagerman, A.E., 2002.
Tannin Chemistry. Miami University Oxford, USA
Hall, J.B. and D.H. Walker, 1991. Balanites aegyptiaca
Del.-A Monograph. School of Agricultural and Forest Science, University of Wales, Banger, UK., ISBN: 9780904390759, Pages: 65
Harborne, J.B., 1993.
Phytochemical Methods: A Guide to Modern Technique in Plant Analysis. Chapman and Hall, New York
Hostettmann, K. and A. Marston, 1995. Saponins
, Chemistry and Pharmacology of Natural Products. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Uk., Pages:132
Irvine, F.R., 1961.
The Woody Plants of Ghana with Special References to their Uses. Oxford University Press, London
Khan, M.R. and A.D. Omoloso, 2002.
Antibacterial activity of Hygrophila stricta
and Peperomia pellucida
. Fitoterapia, 73: 251-254.PubMed | Direct Link |
Munoz, V., M. Sauvain, G. Bourdy, S. Arrazola and J. Callapa et al
A search for natural bioactive compounds in Bolivia through a multidisciplinary approach: Part III. Evaluation of the antimalarial activity of plants used by Altenos Indians. J. Ethnopharmacol., 71: 123-131.CrossRef |
Nabavi, S.M., M.A. Ebrahimzadeh, S.F. Nabavi, A. Hamidinia and A.R. Bekhradnia, 2008.
Determination of antioxidant activity, phenol and flavonoid content of Parrotia persica
mey. Pharmacologyonline, 2: 560-567.Direct Link |
Njoku, P.C. and M.I. Akumefula, 2007.
Phytochemical and nutrient evaluation of Spondias mombin
leaves. Pak. J. Nutr., 6: 613-615.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Price, M.L., S. van Scoyoc and L.G. Butler, 1978.
A critical evaluation of the vanillin reaction as an assay for tannin in sorghum grain. J. Agric. Food Chem., 26: 1214-1218.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Ragasa, C.Y., M. Dumato and J.A. Rideout, 1998.
Antifungal compounds from Peperomia pellucida
. ACGC Chem. Res. Commun., 7: 54-61.
Setchell, K.D. and A. Cassidy, 1999.
Dietary isoflavones: Biological effects and relevance to human health. J. Nutr., 129: 758s-767s.PubMed | Direct Link |
Alli Smith, Y.R., 2009.
Determination of chemical composition of Senna-siamea
(Cassia leaves). Pak. J. Nutr., 8: 119-121.CrossRef | Direct Link |
Stray, F., 1998.
The Natural Guide to Medicinal Herbs and Plants. Tiger Book International, London, pp: 12-16
Vaughan, J.G. and P.A. Judd, 2003.
The Oxford Book of Health Foods: A Comprehensive Guide to Natural Remedies. 1st Edn., Oxford University Press, New York, USA., pp: 17
Wardlaw, G.M., 1999.
Perspective in Nutrition. 4th Edn., Mcgraw-Hill, New York, USA., pp: 527-529
Aliyu, A.B., A.M. Musa, M.S. Sallau and A.O. Oyewale, 2009.
Proximate composition, mineral elements and anti-nutritional factors of Anisopus mannii
N.E.Br. (Asclepiadaceae). Trends Applied Sci. Res., 4: 68-72.CrossRef | Direct Link |