Characterization of leaves used in infusion preparation grown in northeastern Brazil by chemometric methods based on their multi-elemental composition

Abstract In many places of the world, medicinal plants represent the only form of treatment for various diseases. This work aimed to determine and correlate minerals of infusions and leaves of medicinal plants grown in Northeastern Brazil. Principal component and hierarchical cluster analysis and Pearson correlation were performed. The higher content of Na was for Ocimum basilicum L. (94.3 mg/100g) and Datura stramonium L. (91.6 mg/100g). The plants examined had low levels of K in infusions. All samples contain Mg at significant levels. The cluster analysis divided the medicinal plants into three groups, associated with Passiflora edulis, Capraria biflora and Phyllanthus amarus. Ca and Al were the minerals that contributed most to an association between the plants in principal component 1; while K, Na and Mg contributed most in principal component 2. Furthermore, the high percentage of extraction, mainly Ca and Mg, suggests these plants could be used as potential mineral supplements.