Mineral analyses, chewing stick, Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides
The mineral analysis of some trees commonly used as chewing sticks in the Southern part of Nigeria were analyzed to determine their chemical contents and their suitability for human consumption. The species are Prosopis africanai (Yoruba: Orin-ayan), Massularia accuminata (Yoruba: Pako-Ijebu) Anogeissus leiocapa (Yoruba: Orin-ayin) Terminalia glaucescens (Yoruba: Idi) and Zanthoxylum zanthoxyloides (Yoruba: Orin-ata). The mineral analysis revealed that the percentage composition of Sodium ion, Potassium ion, Calcium ion, and Zinc ion, in Massularia accumiinata (Pako-Ijebu) is higher than the others. Hence, it is most commonly used in the society. It was also found that chewing sticks contain little or no amount of lead, which is a heavy metal that causes lead-poisoning. The little amount (about 0.001 pmm) found in Terminalia glaucescens (Orin Idi) is very minute and does not have any serious consequences in the user’s body. There should be conservation of these resources, which is one of the major sources of income to the rural populace.