1.1 Background Information
Fluted pumpkin (Telfairia occidentalis, Hoof F) is one of the most important vegetable grown in Nigeria. It is generally regarded as a leaf and seed vegetable. The leaf has high nutritional, medicinal and industrial values being rich in protein (29%), fat (18%), minerals and vitamins (20%) (Ndor et al., 2013). These make the leaves potentially useful as food supplements (Oderinde et al., 2009). The tender, succulent and immature seeds are cooked and consumed as vegetable. The leaves may be used alone or together with okra, dika nut (Irvingia spp) oregusi seeds (Citrullus africanumwelw) and petro carpus soyauxlltaub. They may also be cooked with fish, meat and tapioca and are then eaten with pounded yam, “eba”, ‘akpu’, and ‘amala’ etc. These are favourites throughout central and southern Nigeria (Grubben and Denton, 2004; Schippers 2002) sometimes the flowers are picked for consumption together with the shoots and leaves. The seeds are used as propagation materials, eaten roasted, boiled or ground to paste as soup thickeners; the nutritional value of fluted pumpkin seed (53% fat and 27% crude protein) justified its wide consumption in Nigeria (Odiaka 2001).
Furthermore, protein energy malnutrition (PEM) is rarely seen among the dwellers where Telfairia occidentalis consumed in large proportion daily (Dike, 2010). The use of Telfairia occidentalis reductive and fertility is gaining ground.
Nwangwa, et al., (2007) showed that Telfairia occidentalis has the potential to regenerate testicular damage condition and increases spermatogenesis. Telfairia occidentalis is high in antioxidant and free radical scavenger properties and that may contribute to why it may use the leave extract in oxidative damage condition such as tonic women that have just given birth, its high content assists in the replenishment of loss blood. Being used for treatment of anaemia, chronic fatigue and diabetes (Alada, 2000, Dina et al., 2006).The blood schizontocidal activity of the root of Telfairia occidentalis comparable to that of chloroquine and also the leaf extract alone is useful in the management of hyperchelestrolaemia, liver problems and impaired immune system (Eseyin et al., 2005a) despite the high nutritional, medicinal and economic value of Telfairia occidentalis. Its production in Nigeria has failed to meet the domestic demand for its consumption (Opadode and Adeboye; 2005)
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