HEAVY METALS CONTAMINATION IN HERBAL PLANTS FROM SOME GHANAIAN MARKETS

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December-January 2012/13, vol. 2, no. 3
pages: 886-896
Article type: Food Sciences of Food Sciences
Abstract: A study was conducted to investigate the magnitude of heavy metals (arsenic [As], copper [Cu], cadmium [Cd] and mercury [Hg]) contamination that may be present in some Ghanaian medicinal herbs/plants available in local markets and also to compare the levels with recommended levels by the International Organization. A total of 267 samples of herbal plants representing 18 different plants collected from several markets in Ghana were tested for heavy metals contamination. Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry was used for the analyses, and content of metals per sample was expressed as percent µg/g. The study showed differences in metal concentrations according to the parts analysed (leaf, fruit, root bark and crown). The obtained results which showed the predominance of Cd in almost all the analysed parts of the samples followed by Zn, Cu, As and Hg. However, Hg was the least predominant metal detected in the analyzed samples. All the monitored metals in the herbal plants were within the safe limit approved by Codex Alimentarius Commission and FAO/WHO limit for spices. The findings generally suggest that consumers of these herbal products would not be exposed to any risk associated with the intake of herbal plant products for the management of diseases.
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