Plants constitute an important source of active natural products, which differ widely in terms of structure and biological properties. They have played a remarkable role in the traditional medicine of various countries. In recent years, the prevention of cancer and cardiovascular diseases has been associated with the ingestion of spices, fresh fruits, vegetables, or teas rich in natural antioxidants (Virgili et al., 2001). The protective effects of plant products are due to the presence of several components, which have distinct mechanisms of action; some are enzymes and proteins and others are low molecular weight compounds such as flavonoids. (Birt et al 2001).

The story of spices and other flavorings, materials is one of the most interesting chapters in the history of vegetable products (Obadoni and Ochuko, 2002). The cravings for spices have been on of the great factors in human progress and have done much to change the course of history and geography and to promote international relations (Akindahunsi and Salawu, 2005)

Spices are used to season insipid foods and to add zest to an otherwise monotonous diet. They stimulate the appetite and increase the flow of gastric juice. For this reason, they are often referred to as food accessories or adjuncts. They also play a role in many of the industries, and are used in perfumery, soaps, incense, as dyes in histology and in various acts (Onyesom and Okoh, 2006). Studies on spices have been mostly on their exciting flavours and aromas medicinal values and as flavorings. These spices are said to be therapeutically useful in the management of convulsion, leprosy, stomachache, inflammation and/or rheumatoid pains, couch and loss of appetite (Valko et al., 2007). The spices prevent postpartum contraction and aid lactation. They are also used as vegetables for spicing meat, oil bean salad, and foods., most of these spices have been associated with abundant bitter principle which is claimed to reduce blood sugar levels, and their liquor taken as a purge for colic, stomach pains, and worm infections. It is also believed that new born babies grow rapidly when they are fed with food made of these spices (Roger, 2002). The spices grow commonly in high forest areas of the south eastern region of Nigeria, as climbers, perennial creepers, or slim shrubs and trees and are available all year round (Sofowora, 1993). Proximate and nutrient analysis of medicinal plants, edible fruits and vegetables plays a crucial role in assessing their nutritional significance (Pandey et. al., 2006). As various medicinal plant species are also consumed as food along with their medicinal benefits, evaluating their nutritional significance can help to understand the worth of these plant species (Pandey et. al., 2006).

There are also various claims about the usefulness of these spices, especially their use in fattening homes, and remarkable growth of new born babies whose mothers use these spices our results would aid in assessing their nutritional potential in relation to their ethnomedicinal uses by the people of South East of Nigeria. The spices include piper guineenses (uziza), Xylopia Aethiopica (Uda), Monodora myristica (Ehuru), and Tetrapleura tetraptera (oshosho). These spices have been described variously by (Smith et. al., 1996). The result of this study will aid in appreciating the acclaimed medicinal properties of these spices and their age long usage by the people.

Despite the huge nutritional values and availability of local spices such as Prosopis Africana, castor oil bean as food spices, some developing countries like Nigeria require more information on the needs for increasing their utilization. Most of the consumers do not know much about the nutritional values, therefore use them as functional ingredient in foods for the purposes of tastes or aromatic characteristics. Hence strong emphasis on the nutritional values of both “okpeye” Prosopis Africana and “ogiri” Castor oil bean are required in Nigeria so as to reduce the intake of industrial seasoning such as maggi.
However, fear of the unknown in the components of maggi is the major factor that inhibits its maximum usage in Nigeria. Recently in Nigeria, there has been series of controversial publications and debates over the use of maggi and monosodium glutamate as a cancer inducing seasoning (Umunna, 1999: Nnanyelugo, 1996 & 1998, and Ajinomotor, 1994). Olney (1969) observed that brain lesions, obesity and other disturbances are in food mice treated with monosodium glutamate which might be detrimental to health. Some other reports even asked for the ban of maggi because they contain monosodium glutamate while some maintain that the amount of monosodium glutamate in maggi is negligible, so it is safe (Frank, 1984). However, many Nigerian still use industrial food spices such as maggi more than the local food spices such as “ogiri”, “okpeye”,  as        flavor enhancer,       their    nutritional     differences    not withstanding.

This research work is aimed at analyzing the physicochemical and antioxidant properties of culinary and local spices, with special reference Prosopis Africana “okpeye” and Castor oil bean “ogiri”. Specifically, the study will;
1.                Analyze      the     nutrient      composition       of     fermented       Prosopis Africana”okpeye”.
2.                Analyze the nutrient composition of fermented Castor oil bean “ogiri”.
3.                Comparing the nutritional composition of both castor oil bean “ogiri” and Prosopis Africana “okpeye”.

Significance of the Study
Local spicess such as “okpeye” and “ogiri” are used to enhance the flavor of food. Therefore a number of benefits will be derived from a comparative analysis of Prosopis Africana “okpeye” and castor oil bean “ogiri”. The result of this study will be beneficial to homemakers, Home Economists, health worker, nutritionist, dietitians, general public and the government.
The findings will be of great value to homemakers by bringing  to their awareness the nutritional values of both Prosopis Africana “okpeye” and castor oil bean “ogiri”. With these findings the homemakers from different states of Nigeria will know the best local food spicess to use and the one that will be more nutritious among people of different age groups. And this could be achieved through seminar \ workshops or women conference such as August meeting and demonstration programme in any state.
Further, the finding of the study will help Home Economists through Home Economists Extension programmes where homemakers are educated on ways of solving national problems associated with nutrition or other diseases. Secondly Home Economists will have the opportunity to educate the homemakers and others on the poisonous or harmful nature of these local spicess when they are not properly fermented. Finally castor oil bean plant in a garden should not be allowed to flower and seed. A good practice is to “nip it in the bud”, because it kills both adult and children alike.
This study will also help the nutritionist and the dietitians to know the type of spicess to recommend for people that lacks some nutrient in the body and also to the people that have health problems.
The result of this finding will help the health workers to know the health implications of both Prosopis Africana (okpeye) and castor oil bean (ogiri).
Finally, the result of this study will also help the Government to advice the general public on the type of local spicess to use.

The study will be tested at 0.05 level of significance.

Ho1: There will be no significant difference between the mean nutritional values of fermented Prosopis Africana (okpeye) and fermented castor oil bean (ogiri).

1.2.1  Physicochemical
According to the thinkexist.con dictionary, it involves the principles of both physics and chemistry, depend on, or produced by, the join actions of physical and chemical agencies.
1.2.3  Antioxidant
An antioxidant is a chemical compound that actually inhibits oxidation. During the winter months your body has a lot more work to do fighting off infection. Many people believe that increasing your intake of antioxidants that you will be able to fight off those cold causing infections. Something known as free radicals tend attack the healthy cells, especially during cold and flu season. It has been medically proved that antioxidant protect those healthy cells from the free radicals.
1.2.3  Property
According to the oxford advanced learners dictionary, property is a thin or things or quality that are owned by somebody or something, a possession or possessions:
1.2.4  Culinary Herbs:
Culinary herbs are those annual, biennial or perennial plants whose green parts, tender roots or ripe seeds have an aromatic flavor and fragrance, due either to a volatile oil or to other chemically named substances peculiar to the individual species. The herbs having a pleasing scent are called sweet, and since they have been long used in cookery to add their characteristic flavors to soups, stews, dressing, sauces and salads, they are popularly called culinary.
1.2.5 Local Spices:
A local spice on the other hand is any of the various vegetable productions which are fragrant or aromatic and pungent to the taste.
1.2.6  Pipe Guineense (Uziza)
Is a West African Pepper, also known as Ashanti pepper, Benin pepper false Cubeb, guinea cubeb. Uziza pepper or (ambiguously) “Guinea pepper”. Called locally kale, kukauabe, masoro, sasema and soro wisa, it a West African spice that corresponds to the dried fruit of Piper guineense. As such, it is a member of the genus Piper, like all true pepper seeds. It is a close relative of cubeb pepper and a relative of black pepper and long pepper. Unlike cubeb pepper, which is large and spherical in shape, Ashanti peppers are prolate spheroids, smaller and smoother than Cubeb pepper in appearance and generally bear a reddish tinge. The stalks of Ashanti pepper berries are also distinctly curved whilst those of cubeb pepper are completely straight
According to A. Rish, Xylopia aethiopica is an evergreen, aromatic tree, growing up to 20m high. It is a native to the lowland rainforest and moist fringe forests in the savanna zones of Africa. The dried fruits of X. aethiopica (Grains of Selim) are used as a spice and a traditional medicine. Etymology, Xylopia is a compression from Greek, iXov Irt’pov (xylon pikron) meaning “bitter wood”, aethiopica refers to the origin of the tree, though currently, most of it grows in Ghana xylopia Aethiopica is a medicinal plant of great repute in West Africa which produces a variety of complex chemical compounds. The fresh and dried fruits, leaf, stem bark and root bark essential oils showed various degrees of activity against the Gram positive bacteria, bacillus Subtilis and Staphylococcus Aureus, the Gram positive bacteria, bacillus subtilis and staphylococcus aureus, the Gram negative bacteria pseudomonas aeruginosa and the yeast-like fungus candida albicans, using the cup plate method. However, none of the oils showed activity against Escherichia coli.
Also known as Calabash nutmeg (Monodora Myristica) Gaertn Dunal is a tropical tree of the family Annonaceae or custard apple family of flowering plants. In former times, its seeds were widely sold as a inexpensive nutmeg substitute. Nowadays however, this is less common outside its region of production.

According to Adesina et al (1980), tetrapleura tetraptera is a species of flowering plant in the pea family native to Western Africa. The plant is called Prekese (or, more correctly, Prekese) in the Twi language of Ghana. The tree has many uses. Its sweet fragrance is highly valued, its fruit is used to spice dishes, and its bark is used for medicinal purposes.
In so many countries, the use of culinary herbs and local spices are so extensive in many cultural ways. Culinary herbs make refreshing teas or drinks to purge or give appetite; as message liquids or oils for bites, swellings, sprains, pains and bruises; as poultices to draw out impurities and foreign bodies; as aphrodisiacs to make a man virile, a woman more fertile and also for abortion and contraception. (Edeoga et al 2005).
It is almost forgotten that not too long ago bitters were common to the table. They were made from herbs that had ample potash and were good because they contained potassium.

In the view of Achinewhu et al (1995), the fragrance of each herb provides a clue to its unique character. But if you are unfamiliar with a herb, take the direct approach. Pull off a leaf (or some seeds) and taste it. Then experiment adding a few snips of one or a sprinkling of another to your favorite recipes. Culinary herbs are a seed plant which does not develop woody tissue as that of a shrub or tree, but is more or less soft or succulent. Herbs act as astringents, acidifiers, alkalinizers, tonics, diaphoretics, diuretics, laxatives and serve several other purposes. Thus herbs may be spices as well as herbs.

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Item Type: Postgraduate Material  |  Attribute: 141 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
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