Proximate nutrient composition of some wild edible medicinal plants from Uganda

  • GU Anywar
  • H Oryem-Origa
  • M Kamatenesi-Mugisha
Keywords: Wild, edible, Medicinal plants, Nutrient, Food-security, food, underutilized, Uganda


There are high levels of malnutrition especially among children in Africa. In Uganda,
this is compounded by widespread food insecurity. There are various wild edible plant
species in Uganda. However, little research has been carried out to document and
validate the claims associated with their use. A study was, therefore, carried out to
analyse the nutritional contents of six commonly used wild edible medicinal plant
species from Nebbi district in Northwestern Uganda. These plants were Erythrococca
bongensis, Grewia trichocarpa, Leptadenia hastata, Nymphaea lotus, Oxygonum
sinuatum and Talinum portulacifolium. The plants were selected mainly because of
their use as both food and medicine. All the selected plant species have documented
medicinal uses among the local communities in Nebbi district where they are used.
However, many of them are often neglected and underutilized, despite their potential
therapeutic and nutritional benefits. The vitamin C, β-carotene, macronutrient, calcium,
iron, magnesium, phosphorous and sodium compositions of the selected edible parts of
the plant species were analysed. With the exception of Grewia trichocarpa fruits and
Nymphaea lotus seeds, the leaves of Talinum portulacifolium had higher Fe (4.54±0.07
mg/100g), P (0.31±0.01 mg/100g), Mg (0.3±0.3 mg/100g), β-carotene (0.275±0.00
μg/100g) and crude ash (22.13±0.19%) contents than the rest of the plant species. The
leaves of Leptadenia hastata had higher levels of vitamin C (17.93±2.01 mg/100g) than
the leaves of other plant species. All the plant species analysed were richer in iron than
the common cabbage Brassica oleracea var capitata. There were significant
differences in the nutritional contents of the plant species analysed (p<0.05). However,
the nutrient values of the plant extracts were generally much lower, providing a small
percentage of Recommended Dietary Allowance or Recommended Nutrient Intakes
(RNI) values. The vitamin C, β-carotene and other nutrient contents of most of the
plant species analysed were generally comparable or even higher than those of the
common cabbage in some instances. Consumption and conservation of these plant
species should be encouraged by local authorities because they not only supplement the
local staples with the much needed nutrients, but they could also have medicinal

Key words: Wild, edible, Medicinal plants, Nutrient, Food-security, food,
underutilized, Uganda


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1684-5374
print ISSN: 1684-5358