Version classiqueVersion mobile
OpenEdition Books

Des sources du savoir aux médicaments du futur

 | 
Jacques Fleurentin
, 
Jean-Marie Pelt
, 
Guy Mazars

1. Origine des pharmacopées traditionnelles et élaboration des pharmacopées savantes

Vegetable salt: an ignorea resource

O Enokakuiodo, S Roman, A Lopez, B Weniger et J Echeverri

Texte intégral

  • 1 Universidad Nacional de Colombia Km 2 Leticia Amazonas (Colombia)

1Note portant sur l'auteur1

  • 2 Universidad Nacional de Colombia Km 2 Leticia Amazonas (Colombia)

2Note portant sur l'auteur2

3Note portant sur l'auteur3

  • 4 Université de Strasbourg, Laboratoire de Pharmacognosie, Faculté de Pharmacie BP 24 67401 lllkirch (...)

4Note portant sur l'auteur4

5Note portant sur l'auteur5

Introduction

6Tree ash and vegetable salt are widely used as a native salt source for human consumption in the Amazonian basin. Among the indians of the Colombian Amazon, vegetable salt is also used in rituals and in the preparation of "ambil", the tobacco paste which is traditionally used applied to the gums.

7The Huitoto indians from the Colombian Amazon prepare vegetable salt in the following way: they collect the bark, flowers, buds, or other plant material from the various species from which salt is obtained; they burn this material until it reduces to ashes; they put the ashes in a piece of bark of Heliconia sp. leaf, with fern leaves or moss at the bottom; slowly, they filter water through the ashes, to extract the salts it contains; and finally they boil down the resulting water in order to dry the salts.

8Using the traditional method, we extracted the vegetable salt from 30 plant species from the Colombian Amazonian rainforest (table 1), and analyzed the concentration of several metals, anions and cations.

Materials and methods

9Sulphate levels were determined by precipitation as barium sulphate, which was then dissolved in a measured excess of standard EDTA (ethylenediamine tetra-acetic acid) solution in the presence of aqueous ammonia. The excess of EDTA was then titrated with standard magnesium chloride solution using Eriochrome Black T as indicator.

10Chloride levels were determined by the Mohr titration method. Bicarbonates are reported as carbonates and determined by titration.

11Potassium, sodium, calcium and magnesium in the salt samples were measured by atomic absorption (Perkin-Elmer).

Results and discussion

12The concentrations of carbonate, chloride, sulphate, sodium and potassium ions present in the vegetable salts are summarized in Table II. Concentrations are expressed as a percentage of the total salt obtained from air-dried samples. Potassium, carbonate, chloride and sulfate are the main ions present, ranging between 28.2 and 44.6 % for potassium, 0.9 and 27.4 % for carbonate, 1.1 and 26.1 % for chloride, and between 7.9 and 49.6 % for sulphate. All the studied vegetable salts are characterized by a low concentration of sodium and a high concentration of potassium ions.

13Maximiliano maripa and Thurnia sphaerocarpa presented a particulary high content of potassium and chloride ions, as Gustavia longifolia, Astrocaryum sciophilum, and Astrocaryum chamhira showed a content of sulphate higher than 44 %.

14Previous studies about plant derived ashes consumed in Papua New Guinea report the presence of a significative content in calcium and magnesium ions, accounting for a calcium content as high as 34,9 % in the ashes from Melaleuca leucadendron L., and a magnesium content as high as 15,7 % in those from Acacia mangium Willd. (Ohtsuka et al., 1987; Freund et al., 1965). Interestingly, in all of the salts of our study, the concentration of calcium and magnesium was found to be less than 0,63 % and 0.31 %, respectively. This correlates with the fact that low solubility salts (e.g. calcium sulphate) can be retained in the extraction process, and their concentration can be finely controlled by tasting the filtrate.

15On the other hand, the ashes from Maytenus vitis-idaea Griseb., traditionally used by the Ayoreo, an Amerindian group of the Paraguayan Chaco, present a sodium content as high as 2,27 % (Schmeda-Hirschmann, 1994). The author suggests that taste preferences may account for the consumed plant ashes. In contrast, in our study, none of the plant derived salts presented a sodium content higher than 0.39 %.

16A high potassium-sodium ratio would make such salts dangerous if consumed in large quantities but with the information available it is difficult to assess the health hazard. No relation between the consumption of these salts, combined with the tobacco paste "ambil", and high blood pressure has been assessed, nor the reasons why they continue to be employed in the preparation of "ambil", despite the availability of commercial sodium chloride. Considering the way in which these salts are consumed, it is unlikely to envisage toxic effects. Nevertheless, further study would be worthwhile, particulary at the prospect of an eventual industrial preparation of some of these salts for the food and dietary market.

Table I. Scientific and vernacular names in Huitoto language of the plants used in the extraction of vegetal salt

Table I. Scientific and vernacular names in Huitoto language of the plants used in the extraction of vegetal salt

Table II. Vegetable salt composition of the selected species (%)

Table II. Vegetable salt composition of the selected species (%)

Bibliographie

References

FREUND A.P.H., HENTY E.E., LYNCH M.A. (1965) Salt making in inland New Guinea, Trans. Papua New Guinea Sci. Soc., 6:16-19.

LEMMONIER P. 1984. La production de sel végétal chez les Anga (Papouasie Nouvelle-Guinée), J. Agric. Trad. Bot. Ap., 21:1 -2.

HTSUKA R., SUZUKI T., MORITA M. (1987) Sodium-rich Tree Ash as a Native Salt Source in Lowland Papua, Economic Botany, 41: 55-59.

SCHMEDA-HIRSCHMANN G. (1994) Tree ash as an Ayoreo Salt Source in the Paraguayan Chaco, Economic Botany, 48: 159-162.

Notes de fin

1 Universidad Nacional de Colombia Km 2 Leticia Amazonas (Colombia)

2 Universidad Nacional de Colombia Km 2 Leticia Amazonas (Colombia)

3 Fundación Erigaie Calle 66 N°5-l4 Bogotá (Colombia) Email: mailto:aaugusto@interchange.ubc.ca

4 Université de Strasbourg, Laboratoire de Pharmacognosie, Faculté de Pharmacie BP 24 67401 lllkirch Cedex (France) Email: mailto:weniger@pharma.u-strasbg.fr

5 Fundación Gaia, Cra 4 N°26B-31 Bogotá (Colombia) Email: mailto:ievecher@latino.net.co

Table des illustrations

Titre Table I. Scientific and vernacular names in Huitoto language of the plants used in the extraction of vegetal salt
URL http://books.openedition.org/irdeditions/docannexe/image/7255/img-1.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 853k
Titre Table II. Vegetable salt composition of the selected species (%)
URL http://books.openedition.org/irdeditions/docannexe/image/7255/img-2.jpg
Fichier image/jpeg, 813k

© IRD Éditions, 2002

Conditions d’utilisation : http://www.openedition.org/6540