Leaflets 12: 614-19. 2008.
Investigation on Nutritional Properties of Artemesia maritime Linn.
Bhatt, Arvind Bhatt*, Kundan
Parsad, Sanjay Gairola,
R.S. Rawal and Uppeandra Dhar
G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development Kosi-Katarmal, Almora - 263 643
author Arvind Bhatt, School of Biological &
University of Kwazulu-Natal, Private Bag X54001, Durban
4000, South Africa
Issued 11 August 2008
plants play a vital role in the health security of Himalayan inhabitants and
constitute significantly to their diet. In this report we investigated the
nutritional composition of Artemissia maritime
growing at high altitudes in the Himalayas. Aerial parts
of the species showed the maximum amount of Vitamin C (228.09 mg/100g),
followed by phenolics (196.70 mg/100g) and total
carbohydrate (46.93 mg/100g). The calorific value was approximately 254.91
mg/100g in dry aerial parts of the species. As far as the nutritional
composition is concerned, potassium content (1753.53 mg/100g) was highest as
compared to nitrogen (1366.24 mg/100g) and calcium (213.9
(mg/100 g) content, respectively.
Medicinal plants, Himalaya, mineral composition, Artemesia maritime.
Indian Himalayan Region (IHR) is well known for its unique biodiversity which
is being utilized by local inhabitants for various purposes, i.e. medicine,
fuel, fodder, timber, etc. (Samant and Dhar, 1997; Samant et al,
1998). The harsh climatic conditions at high altitudes in
the Himalayan region affects agricultural practices, resulting in low
yields. Therefore, local communities have diversified their activities in
other sources like collection and sale of medicinal plants, wild edibles,
woolen, handicrafts items, etc. (Kala, 1998). Among
the latter, medicinal plants have found place in traditional as well as
modern healthcare systems. Recent research has highlighted the need for
screening of nutritional properties of plants as they contain all the
necessary mineral/nutrients which play a vital role in daily human diet. The
information about mineral composition of most of the Himalayan plants is
fragmentary or completely lacking. This lack of knowledge probably hinders
the widespread commercial acceptance of the species.
(Family Asteraceae) is an aromatic perennial herb,
distributed in the western Himalaya from Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand at an altitude of 2300-3000 m asl (Anonymous 1985). The species is used by Himalayan
people in diverse ways. For example, leaves and flowering shoots are used as anthelmintic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, emmenagogue,
febrifuge, stimulant, stomachic, tonic and vermifuge
(Grieve 1984; Singh and Kachroo 1976). Dried root
powder is used in treatment of epilepsy (Bhattacharjee
2001). The species is also used in indigestion, dermatitis and appetizer (Kala, 2003), vermifuge against ascarides, infantile spasms, eclampsia,
neuropathy, whooping cough, anorexia and intermittent fever (Grieve, 1984; Handa, 2004). The aerial part of the species produces artemisinin, a potent source of an anti malaria drug.
Several studies showed the hepatoprotective
activity of the aqueous-methanolic extract of Artemesia maritime against acetaminophen (paracetamol, 4-hydroxy acetanilide) - and carbon
tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced hepatic damage. Pretreatment of rats with the
plant extract (500 mg/kg) prevented CCl4-induced prolongation in pentobarbital
sleeping time confirming hepatoprotectivity and
validates the traditional use of this plant against liver damage (Janbaz and Gilani 1995). The
folkloric reputation of the species showed that the species is used in
jaundice (Baquar 1989) and in intermittent as well
as remittent fever (Kritikar and Basu 1984). In addition, the leaves of the plant are used
in the preparations of Dhoop (incense).
the diverse medicinal uses, the species is widely accepted in Himalayan region
and can solve the dual purpose if nutritional potential could be
investigated. This could play an important role in human diet along with its
medicinal properties. The present study is therefore attempted to investigate
the mineral and nutrient composition of A.
maritime. To the best of our knowledge no reports are available on the
mineral and nutritional composition of this species.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
aerial parts of A. maritime were collected from Jhelum (3800 m asl)
Chamoli district of Uttarakhand
Himalaya during the peak-growing season (late September 2005). The plant
samples were transported to the laboratory and air dried at room temperature
for approximately seven days prior to analysis. For determination of moisture
contents fresh weight of plant material was recorded and dried at 800
C in an hot air oven for 24 hrs. Dry weight was
recorded and moisture percentage was calculated.
dried materials were powdered separately in an electric mill and made a fine
powder of 60 mesh size prior to analysis. Powder was kept in polythene bag at
room temperature till the further analysis. Total carbohydrate content in the
aerial parts of the species was estimated following the Phenol Sulphuric method (Dubois et al 1962). Total nitrogen was
estimated using Micro-Kjeldahl (AOAC 1985). Crude
protein was calculated as Kjeldahl N x 6.25 (based
on assumption that nitrogen constitutes 16.0% of a protein). The content of
crude fat and ash was estimated (AOAC 1971). Insoluble ash content was
estimated following the method of Peach and Tracy (1956) and Mishra
(1968). Mineral contents were estimated by wet digestion method. Plant
material (1 g) was digested with two successive aliquots of conc. HNO3
(5 ml each) and after burning, the organic matter was slowly digested with 15
ml of triple acid mixture (HNO3, HClO4 and H2SO4,
10:4:1, v/v) at 200 0C and reduced to about 1 ml. The residue was
dissolved in double distilled water, filtered and diluted to 100 ml. This
solution was used for the estimation of minerals. Macro minerals viz., Na, K
and Ca were estimated by Flame Photometer (SYSTRONICS, T-125). Phosphorous
content was estimated according to Allen (1977). The energy content of aerial
parts of the plants was determined by multiplying the crude protein, crude
lipid and total carbohydrate content by the factor 4, 9 and 4 respectively
(Osborne and Voogt 1978).
Total phenolics content was estimated following Singleton et al
(1999) with minor modification. The dry powder (0.5 g) was extracted with 10
time volume of 80 % ethanol and the homogenate was centrifuged at 10,000 rpm
for 20 min and supernatant was collected. The residue was re-extracted three
times with 80% ethanol, centrifuged and the supernatant was evaporated to
dryness. The residue was dissolved in 5 ml double distilled water, pipetted into test tubes (using 1 ml aliquots) and 0.5 ml
Folin-Ciocalteau reagent was added. After three
minutes, 2 ml of 20% sodium carbonate solution was added to each test tube
and the absorbance was read at 650 nm.
Ascorbic acid content was estimated by following Ranganna
(1976) with minor modification. Two grams of dry (aerial parts) powder was
extracted with 4% oxalic acid and centrifuged at 10,000 rpm for 10 minutes.
Supernatant of the 5 ml was transferred into a conical flask and 10 ml of 4%
oxalic acid was added for titration against a standard dye solution (2.6 dichlorophenol indophenol)
until a pink colour appeared. The procedure was
repeated with a blank solution.
Results and discussion
mineral nutrient, vitamins and phenolic content studied in
the aerial part of A. maritime are
summarized in Table 1. The results revealed that dried aerial part of A. maritime contained crude protein
(8.54 mg/100g), crude fat (3.67 mg/100g), total carbohydrate (46.93 mg/100g),
vitamin C (228.09 mg/100g), phenolic (196.70
mg/100g) and ash (7.48 mg/100g). The Food Energy value was recorded 254.91
Kcal/ 100g DM. As such, carbohydrate is the most important source of food
energy among the macronutrients, accounting between 40-80% of total energy
intake (Burlingame 1999). The protein contains all of essential amino acids
and forms the building blocks of bones, teeth, muscles, skin and blood. In
addition, it helps to regulate fluid balance and act as enzymes transporters.
As an antibody, protein also helps as a defense mechanism of the body against
different diseases. Cassileth (1998) suggested that
the body can synthesize many of the amino acids required for protein
synthesis, but some amino acids must be obtained from the proteins in the
diet. This can be obtained from the 100 g dried A. maritime aerial
part as it contained the reasonable amount of protein and total carbohydrate.
In the present study,
the presence of vitamin C (227 mg/100g) reflects the potential of the plant
in contribution to nutrition. It is reported that daily requirement of a
healthy human being is 60 mg of vitamin C which is sufficient to protect the
body from damage and act as an antioxidant (Splittstoesser
1990; Powers and Howley, 2000). Vitamin C is an
essential water soluble vitamin and plays a key role in the formation of
collagen, a primary component of the connective tissue in the body. Adequate
collagen synthesis is essential for strong ligaments, tendons, dentin, skin,
blood vessels, bones, wound healing and tissue repairing. In addition,
vitamin C is an important aid in the absorption of inorganic iron and has
shown its usefulness in the treatment of anemia and stress (Jacques et al
1997; Hearts et al 1998; Fleming et al 1998).
The total dry weight of the ash content was
7.48 mg/100 g, however, the amount of acid insoluble ash 0.98mg/100 g and
acid soluble ash was 6.50 mg/100g, respectively. The calorific value of the
aerial parts of the plant was 254.91 Kcal/100 g. The presence of ash contents
reflects the amount of preserved minerals in the aerial parts of the species.
The species contains a moderate amount of fat (3.67 mg/100g), which in tune
with that a diet contain 1-2% of its caloric of energy as a fat is said to be
sufficient to human beings while excess fat consumption is implicated to
certain cardiovascular disorders (Anita et al 2006). The presence of Phenolic compounds in the plant is indicative of various
medicinal properties. As such, the species is reported to be used as an
effective antiseptic (Grieve 1984; Singh. and Kachroo
1976). Data indicated that aerial parts of the species contained high ash
contents (7.48 mg/100g), this probably due to a greater amount of
photosynthetic activities. These results are consistent with Shad et al.
(2002) who reported high ash content in Fagonia Arabica.
(1753.52 mg/100g) was the most abundant mineral followed by nitrogen (1366.24
mg/100g) in the aerial parts of A.
maritime (Table 1). However, calcium (213.99mg/100g), phosphorus (147.15
mg/100g) and sodium (112.39 mg/100g) were present in moderate amounts.
Potassium is known to maintain the water and acid balance in the body and as
an electrolyte, it plays an important role in
transmitting nerve impulses to muscles for contraction and in the maintenance
of normal blood pressure. For a healthy human being the standardized daily
requirement of potassium is approximately 2000mg (Whitney and Rolfes 1999) which is comparable to potassium contains
obtained in present investigation. From the data obtained in present study
can be inferred that nutritionally important potassium and calcium are found
in significant amounts in the aerial parts of the plant. The high
concentration of these minerals could be an advantage while the plant is
being utilized for the nutrition purpose.
In conclusion it can be
inferred that the aerial parts of A.
maritime contained reasonable amount of nutrients in addition to protein,
fat and carbohydrate. Unfortunately, we could not analyze the nutrients, Fe,
Zn, I in this study, but these minerals account for the vast majority of
deficiencies according to World Health Organization. Thus, in order to
highlight the significance of A.
maritime as a source of nutrients, comprehensive study is needed with
taking into account both the macronutrient and micronutrients in
consideration. However, the present findings suggest that A. maritime could have great potential
in nutritive value together with its medicinal properties. On the other hand,
though the species has many uses and grows abundantly in the Himalayan
region, its sustainable harvest from nature and cultivation may improve the
local economy. Moreover, the xerophytic nature of
the species may have advantages in cultivating in dry slopes to protect the
wish to thank colleagues of CBD group for their support and help. The financial
assistance from the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India
(BT/PR1118/PB/17/050/98) and National Medicinal Plant Board, New Delhi (No. 135/2002) is gratefully
acknowledged. We extend thanks to Shri Raghubir Singh Rana for providing necessary help during the field work.
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Table 1. Mineral nutrients, vitamin and phenolic
content in aerial parts of
Artimisia martimi (The data are means
of triplicate determinations).
8.32 - 8.77
Crude Fat (%)
3.65 - 3.68
Total Carbohydrate (%)
46.82 - 47.05
Vitamin C (%)
227.64 - 228.64
7.05 - 7.75
Acid Soluble ash (%)
6.07 - 6.79
Acid insoluble ash (%)
0.95 - 0.98
Calorific Value (Kcal/ 100g DM)
Total phenols (mg/100g)
196.33 - 197.14
1331.62 - 1403.97
Phosphorus (P) (mg/100g)
143.95 - 148.75