Title Page
Table of Contents

Chapter One
1.0       Introduction
1.1.      Medicinal Potentials of Jatropha curcas Seeds
1.2.      Statement of Research Problem
1.3.      Justification of the Study
1.4.      Research Hypothesis
1.5.      Aim and Objectives

Chapter Two
2.0       Literature Review
2.1.      Botanical feautures of Jatropha curcas
2.2.      Ethnobotanical uses of J. curcas
2.3.      Reported Economic Uses of J. curcas
2.4.      Reported Biological Profile of J. curcas
2.5.      Reported Chemical Profile of J. curcas
2.6.      Reported Toxicity Profile of J. curcas

Chapter Three
3.0       Materials and methods
3.1       Ethnobotanical Survey of Jatropha curcas Seeds
3.2       Collection and Preparation of Plant Materials
3.3       Chemicals
3.4       Test Animals
3.5       Extraction of Plant Material
3.6       Pharmacognostic Evaluation  of Jatropha curcas Seed
3.6.1.   Macroscopic evaluation
3.6.2.   Microscopic evaluation
3.6.3.   Physico-chemical study
3.6.4.   Chemomicroscopic and flourescence analysis
3.7       Phytochemical Analysis of J.curcas Seed Extract
3.7.1.   Test for carbohydrates
3.7.2.   Test for anthraquinone derivatives
3.7.3.   Test for cardiac glycosides
3.7.4.   Test for saponoins
3.7.5.   Test for steroids and terpenoids
3.7.6.   Test for flavonoids
3.7.7.   Test for tannins
3.7.8.   Test for alkaloids
3.8.      Evaluation of J. curcas Seed Oil
3.8.1.   Determination of acid value
3.8.2.   Determination of saponification value
3.8.3.   Solubility test
3.8.4.   Sodium hydroxide test
3.8.5.   Test for cholesterol
3.9.      Thin Layer Chromatography of J. curcas Seed Extract
3.10.    Acute Toxicity Test of J. curcas Seed Extract
3.11.    Pharmacological and Antimicrobial Evaluation of J. curcas Methanolic Seed Extract
3.11.1. Analgesic activity test of J. curcas seeds
3.11.2. Antimicrobial activity test of J. curcas seeds

Chapter Four
4.0       Results
4.1       Ethnobotanical Suvey of J.curcas Seeds
4.2       Pharmacognostic Evaluation of J.curcas Seeds
4.2.1.   Macroscopic study
4.2.2.   Microscopic study
4.2.3.   Physico-chemical parameters
4.2.4.   Chemomicroscopic and fluorescence analysis J. curcas seeds
4.3.      Phytochemical Analysis of J. curcas Seed Extract
4.4.      Evaluation of J. curcas Seed Oil
4.5.      Thin Layer Chromatography of J. curcas Seeds
4.6.      Acute Toxicity Test of J. curcas Seeds
4.7.      Biological Activity of J. curcas Seeds
4.7.1.   Analgesic test
4.7.2.   Antimicrobial test

Chapter Five
5.0       Discussion

Chapter Six
6.0       Conclusion, Summary and Recommendations
6.1.      Summary
6.2       Conclusion
6.3       Recommendations

Jatropha curcas Linn. (Euphorbiaceae) is a shrub that grows up to 5m in height. It thrives well in tropical countries. It grows in the wild as an uncultivated, non-food plant. It is traditionally used as a living fence to protect gardens from animals.

An ethnobotanical survey of the seed of J. curcas was carried out in parts of Zaria and Zonkwa in Kaduna State of Nigeria. The seeds are used in traditional medicine for analgesic, antimicrobial, purgative, laxative and aphrodisiac purposes. Sometimes, the seeds serve as food when cooked. Some of the common toxic effects of direct consumption of the seeds include purging, body weakness, convulsion and abdominal pains.

Pharmacognostic study of the seed was carried out including macroscopy, microscopy and the determination of some physical standards. A study on the phytochemical constituents and biological activities of J. curcas seeds was carried out. The thin layer chromatographic analysis using random solvent systems showed rich composition of chemical constituents like flavanoids, steroids and triterpenes using various solvent systems.

The seed extract was tested for analgesic activity using the acetic acid induced writhing response in mice. Chemomicroscopic and fluorescence analyses of the seed were carried out.

Using agar well diffusion method, the methanolic extract of J. curcas seeds and four fractions of the extract; petroleum ether fraction, ethyl acetate fraction, n-butanol fraction and aqueous fraction, were used for antimicrobial test. Two fold serial dilution of the extract and fractions were made to obtain 200mg/ml, 100mg/ml, 50mg/ml, 25mg/ml, 12.5mg/ml,     6.25mg/ml,     3.13mg/ml     and   1.57mg/ml.     The     test     organisms     were; Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Streptococcus pyogenes and Candida albicans. The seed oil was found to have an acid value of 5.61 and a saponification value of 297.33. Preliminary phytochemical studies revealed the presence of flavonoids, carbohydrates, saponins, tannins and steroids. Acute toxicity test revealed that the methanolic extract has an LD50 of 471.17 mg/kg in albino mice, making it very toxic.

The seed methanolic extract significantly (P < 0.05) reduced writhes induced by acetic acid. The results of the analgesic test were comparable to the standard drug (paracetamol 100mg/kg). Although not all organisms were susceptible throughout, it was discovered that the methanolic extract, aqueous fraction, ethyl acetate fraction, n-butanol fraction and petroleum ether fraction generally exhibited activity against the test organisms at 50-200µg/ml concentrations.

Thus, the results obtained justified the use of J. curcas seeds in traditional medicine for analgesic and antimicrobial purposes.

1.0              INTRODUCTION
1.1  Medicinal Potentials of Jatropha curcas Seeds
The trend of developing drugs from natural sources scientifically is not new. Most drugs are either herbal based or were developed as synthetic products from the natural sources. The use of natural/crude herbs or drugs to cure ailments is the oldest medicinal practice the world over. However, some natural plant products that were discovered to be poisonous were found useful as arrow poison or fishing poison (Taylor, 2000).

Critics of herbal medicine are quick to point out that many plants are toxic. Plants such as oleander and foxglove fall in this category. The use of oleander branches at barbeques is toxic to people. The plant foxglove, which is used to make cardiac glycoside medicines, is also toxic. Therefore, recommending these plants for medicinal purpose is quite unpopular. However, the use of traditional medicines in dosage ranges that have been determined by centuries of trial and error could likely be beneficial without side effects (Acharya and Shrivastava 2008).

The yew tree, Taxus, has a legendary connection to death. Its seeds, leaves, and bark are highly poisonous to humans. However, it has in recent times earned a different reputation as a potential preserver of life. In the 1960s, researchers working for the U.S. National Cancer Institute discovered that the bark of Taxus brevifolia, the Pacific yew, contained a toxic ingredient that could be harnessed on a cellular level to inhibit the progress of some cancers (Chiej, 1984).

It is baffling how traditional healers, without the use of elaborate equipment or any formal schooling can be so adept at identifying plants, discern their uses and find......

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