Wild Plants as Sources of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods in Africa

TitleWild Plants as Sources of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods in Africa
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsAnywar, GUpoki, N, GJ
Book TitleRecent Progress In Medicinal Plants
Series Volume42

Currently there is no universally accepted definition of ''nutraceutical'' and "functional food". There is some degree of overlap when using these terms and some authors have them interchangeably. Whereas nutraceuticals are mainly involved in the prevention and treatment of disease, functional foods are mainly involved in disease reduction. Globally, the majority of food plants are wild and either neglected or underutilized. Wild plant species can be a source of novel nutraceuticals or functional food compounds; because Africa is endowed with a rich and untapped plant biodiversity of between 40,000 and 60,000 species. Such plant species are likely to have specific health benefits, such as disease prevention, as has been shown with some traditional food plants. The nutaceutical and functional food industry is rapidly growing in Africa, thus clear government regulation is needed to regulate it. Wild plant species in Africa are rapidly declining, mainly due to habitat loss, however, future prospects and opportunities exist for harnessing these resources. Key words: Nutraceuticals, Functional foods, Wild plants, Africa