Lesser-known leafy vegetables of Southeastern Nigeria (Vitex doniana and Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides)


  • Thecla O. AYOKA University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Faculty of Physical Sciences, Department of Science Laboratory Technology (Biochemistry Unit), 410001, Enugu State (NG) https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6078-8480
  • Charles O. NNADI University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Department of Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry, 410001, Enugu State (NG) https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8749-3431




antioxidant, hepatoprotectiv, vegetables, Vitex doniana, Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides


Vitex doniana and Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides are plants grown in the Southeastern part of Nigeria. They have been used traditionally as food and in medicine, also in teeth cleaning and as a mouth wash to reduce pain. The availability of these plants has sparked a surge in interest in knowledge about their supplements and contents, including nutrients, mineral components, and bioactive chemicals, which are critical for drug discovery and development. Compounds derived from them have been used as effective pharmaceuticals throughout human history. This review is aimed at providing a comprehensive report on the chemical constituents, traditional uses, biological and pharmacological activities of Vitex doniana and Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides. Information was sourced from literatures using search engines such as Google, Google Scholar, Microsoft Academic, ResearchGate, and Semantic Scholar. The plants were found to contain natural products such as alkaloids, phenolics, tannins, saponins, glycosides, steroids, proteins, carbohydrates, anthraquinones, resins, lignans, lipids, allicins, balsams, hydroxycinnamic acid, oleanolic acid, esters, norisoprenoids, anthracene, essential oils and terpenes, which seem to correlate with their antioxidant potentials. They have gained interest recently due to the presence in them of varieties of their bioactive compounds. Biological and pharmacological studies revealed that they possess antioxidant, anti-cancer, antimalarial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial activities and hepatoprotective properties. In addition, the alkaloidal content of V. doniana and Z. zanthoxyloides can enhance serum biochemical parameters, repair cellular damage and fibrosis in the liver, and control hepatocyte activity.


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How to Cite

AYOKA, T. O., & NNADI, C. O. (2022). Lesser-known leafy vegetables of Southeastern Nigeria (Vitex doniana and Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides). Notulae Scientia Biologicae, 14(2), 11777. https://doi.org/10.55779/nsb14211177



Research articles
DOI: 10.55779/nsb14211177

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