CHEMICAL RISK DUE TO HEAVY METAL CONTAMINATION OF MEDICINAL PLANTS

Edward Muntean, Rajmund Michalski, Nicoleta Muntean, Marcel Duda

Abstract


The paper highlights some features related with the quality of medicinal plants, the focus being directed towards the heavy metal content of some commercially available products between 2013-2015: basil, chamomile, mulberry, plantain, dandelion, mint, St. John's wort, marigold, fennel and dill. Four heavy metals were investigated (cadmium, lead, zinc and copper) using atomic absorption spectrophotometry, measurements being performed using a Shimadzu AA-6300 double beam atomic absorption spectrophotometer with graphite furnace, after microwave-assisted digestion. The concentration ranges were as follows: for lead from 0.07 μg/kg (chamomile - in 2013) to 45.01 μg/kg (dill - in 2013), for cadmium from 0.88 μg/kg (plantain - in 2013) to 25.63 μg/kg, for zinc from 1.45 mg/kg (fennel - in 2013) to 22.38 mg/kg (marigold - in 2015) and for copper from 2.34 mg/kg (dill - in 2013) to 13.49 mg/kg (marigold - in 2015). The contaminants’ contents of herbal teas are variable due to the factors like differences between the plants species, geographical area and exposure to different pollution sources or conditions during drying process.


Keywords


heavy metals, contamination, medicinal plants, phytopharmacy

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