Characterisation of some exotic fruits (Morus nigra, Morus alba, Salvadora persica and Carissa opaca) used as herbal medicines by neutron activation analysis and estimation of their nutritional value.
In the under developed countries, the people of far-flung rural areas still depend to a large extent upon herbal medicines. At the foundation of usage of herbal medicine is the experience of thousands of years. The present paper deals with the characterisation of exotic fruits for essential and toxic elements. The samples include Morus nigra, Morus alba, Salvadora persica and Carissa opaca (from low and high altitude). Two standardizations of neutron activation analysis, that is, semi-absolute k0-instrumental neutron activation analysis (k0-INAA) and epithermal neutron activation analysis (ENAA) were employed for the quantification of elements. The analysis methodologies were validated by analyzing the IAEA-336 (lichen) and NIST-SRM-1572 (citrus leaves). Sixteen elements including Br, Ca, Cl, Co, Cr, Fe, I, K, Mg, Mn, Na, Rb, Sb, Sc Sr, and Zn were determined in all samples. Daily intakes of various elements from the samples were measured and compared with the dietary reference intakes. Additionally, principal component analysis was performed to extract information regarding samples and elements.