For centuries, seeds and nuts have served as invaluable sources of food and nutrients for both humans and wildlife. The discovery of their health potential, in addition to their food value, as important therapeutic agents against diseases made them a sine qua non to life. A seed maybe defined as a plant member derived from a matured and fertilized ovule, consisting of a kernel with stored food surrounded by one, two, or three protective seed coats derived from integuments of the ovule (Wallis, 2005). "Nut" is a general term for a large, dry, oily seed or fruit of some plants. Nuts also contain a significant proportion of vitamins, formerly known as "accessory food factors" (Evans, 1989), and secondary metabolites (especially polyphenols) that account for their therapeutic activities. Polyphenols are the most commonly found secondary products in seeds and nuts that form an important part of both human and animal diets. They are also associated with useful therapeutic activities, as well as protective biological functions.
Some seeds and nuts, including P. curatellifolia seeds, are used mostly for their medicinal values and may contain other secondary metabolites, such as alkaloids, terpenoids, and glycosides. P. curatellifolia seed contains alkaloids and anthraquinone glycosides in addition to polyphenols, and are used either alone or in combination with other herbs in the treatment of diabetes and several other diseases. (Ogbonnia et al., 2009).
In this chapter, the health benefits, adverse effects, and reactions of P. curatellifolia seed are outlined. The botanical description and cultivation of the plant, and the chemical constituents of the seeds, are also discussed.
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