Development of a nutraceutical from natural products: A case study of a herbal-based low sodium table salt

Lucia K Keter, Ingrid Wekesa, Festus Tolo, Zacharia Mwaghadi, Peter Mwitari, Sylvia Murunga, Robert Karanja, Benjamin Gituku, Wesley Ronoh, Phyllis Ngunjiri, Jennifer A Orwa


Background: Cyperus papyrus reed ash has been used traditionally as a salt substitute in Western Kenya. Previous work carried out at Kenya Medical Research Institute indicated that potassium salt substitution derived from local papyrus reed has a favourable potassium/sodium ratio that is suitable for use to regulate high blood pressure.

Objective: To develop and design a process flow for pilot scale production and to develop suitable analytical methods for quality assurance for a herbal based low sodium table salt.

Methodology: The plant material was collected from two study sites in Rift Valley then cleaned, chopped, dried, ashed and extracted at laboratory and optimized industrial scale to yield laboratory and pilot scale samples. Elemental analysis was determined using Atomic Absorption and Flame emission spectroscopy.

Results: The herbal salt yield for the laboratory scale processing was about 10% for both samples but 13% and 22%, respectively, using the optimized industrial procedure. Elemental analysis results indicate the presence of both essential and non-essential elements and heavy metal was within the World Health Organization acceptable limits. The potassium/sodium ratios obtained were between 3 and 11.

Discussion: The herbal salt has the capacity to preserve meat and is a source of other essential trace elements such as chromium, Zinc and manganese.

Key words: Nutraceuticals; process optimization; low sodium; herbal salt; elemental composition

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