PHYTOCHEMICAL AND ANTI-MICROBIAL ANALYSES OF THE EXTRACTS FROM THE LEAVES AND ROOTS OF GOSSYPIUM HIRSATUM

AUTHOR: UMETALI OKECHUKWU PETER

DEPARTMENT: PURE AND INDUSTRIAL CHEMISTRY

AFFILIATION: NNAMDI AZIKIWE UNIVERSITY, AWKA

The use of medicinal plant as a source of relief from illness can be traced back to over five millennia from written documents of early civilization in China, India and near east but it is doubtless an art as old as man kind. Neanderthals living 60,000 years ago in present day Iraq used plants such as holly-back. These plants are still widely used in ethno-medicine around the world (Thopson, et al. 1978). The potential of higher plants as source for new drug is still largely unexplored. Among the estimated 250,000-500,000 plant species only a small percentage has been investigated phytochemically and the fraction submitted to biologically or pharmacological screening is even smaller (Stockwell,1998). Thus, any phytochemical investigation of a given plant will reveal only a very narrow spectrum of its constituent. Historically, pharmacological screening of compounds of natural or synthetic origin has been source of immeasurable therapeutic agents (Gerhartz, et al.1985). Random screening as tool in discovering near biological active molecules has been most productive in the area of antibiotics (Kroschwitz, et al. 1992). Even now contrary to common belief, drugs from higher plants continue to occupy an important niche in modern medicine. On a global basis at least 130 drugs, all single chemical entities extracted from higher plants or modified further synthetically are currently in use, though some of them are now been made synthetically for economic reasons (Newman, et al. 2000).

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