Environmental & Analytical Toxicology

ISSN: 2161-0525

Open Access

Determination of Contaminants in Some Iranian Popular Herbal Medicines


P. Ziarati

Introduction: Medicinal plants have been used therapeutically all around the world, being an important aspect of various traditional medicine systems. However, the use of phytotherapy according to the efficacy and safety criteria is not sufficient to guarantee the quality of both the herbal medicine and its use.
Objective : The aim of this study was to determine the level of Cd, Pb, Ni, Cu , Hg and pesticide residues in some commonly used herbal medicines and herbal plants to assess the relative safety of these products based on world standard limits and potential health risk to local inhabitants.
Materials & Methods: 6 different medicinal herbal products and 6 herbal plants were purchased from Tehran’s market. Certain weight of each samples were digested with nitric acid by wet digestion method for determining of toxic metals. Atomic absorption spectrometry (AA) was used for the determination of the concentration of Pb, Cd, Ni, Cu and an automated continuous – flow hydride vapor generation system was used for Hg and pesticide residues were analyzed by gas-chromatography – mass spectrometry after extraction performed using solid – phase micro extraction technique.
Results: Results were compared with the permissible limits (Pl), acceptable daily intake (ADI) and provisional maximum tolerable daily intake (PMTDI) as set by world health organization (WHO), Food and Drug administration (FDA). Mercury, Lead and Cadmium were highly present in the majority of samples. In 100% of medicinal plant samples which brought randomly from the markets, the amounts of Diazinon, Fenitrothion, Malathion was higher than the allowed limits when compared to the MRL scale.
Conclusion: By a comparison between acceptable global standards and the level of Hg, Cd and Pb on investigated herbal medicine and medicinal plants, our results showed that the majority of medicinal plants samples had higher level of these heavy metals. Due to lack of research data and technical limitations at present, more research is needed in order to establish the scientific criteria for herbal medicines.


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