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Trace metals quality of some herbal medicines sold in Accra, Ghana

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Author(s): A.K. Anim | C. Laar | J. Osei, et al.

Journal: Proceedings of the International Academy of Ecology and Environmental Sciences
ISSN 2220-8860

Volume: 2;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 111;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: trace metal | concentration | contamination | herbal medicine | cluster analysis | limits | safety

ABSTRACT
Ten brands of herbal medicines were selected on the market for the analysis of trace metals quality using the Atomic Absorption Spectrometer. The results were reported as the mean concentration of three representative samples for each of the ten brands. The respective percentage incidence of the trace metals analyzed were; Fe (20%), Zn (80%), Cu (20%), Cd (40%); Al (100%) and Pb (100%). The range of the mean concentrations measured for all the brands were; Fe (less than 0.006-3.298 mg/L), Zn (less than 0.001-0.091 mg/L), Cu (less than 0.003-0.009 mg/L), Cd (less than 0.002-0.003), Al (0.278-0.533 mg/L) and Pb (0.0056-0.085 mg/L). The mean concentrations of the trace metals measured were generally low and below stipulated national limits as per WHO (2007). A hierarchical cluster analysis indicated two clusters; cluster 1 (CA1) loading Zn, Al and Fe whilst Cluster 2 (CA2) loaded Cd and Pb. The presence of these trace metals may be the result of accidental contamination during manufacture, for instance, from grinding weights or lead-releasing containers or other manufacturing utensils and contamination from polluted soils on which the herbs were harvested. Some brands of the herbal medicines sampled do not have the code in Food and Drugs Board of Ghana. Hence a routine analysis of these herbal medicines must be carried out to ensure the safety of the consuming populace.
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