Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Assessment of lead and cadmium in fifty-four Indian herbal medicine: tribal and marketed varieties

  • 29 Accesses

Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the toxic metal content in herbal medicines being used by Indian people. Trace elements, lead (Pb) and cadmium (Cd), in fifty-four herbal medicines (marketed and tribal varieties) of India were estimated, and the potential health risks were characterized by estimating the tolerable daily intake (TDI) and the total hazard quotient (THQ) associated with their consumption. A total of 12% of the marketed varieties had Pb above WHO permissible limits of 10 mg Pb/kg. In tribal varieties, none of the samples exceeded this limit. In contrast, all the marketed varieties and 17% of the tribal varieties exceeded WHO limit of 0.3 mg Cd/kg. Consumption of ~ 0.01 kg of herbal medicine per day contributed almost 20–28% of TDI of Pb and Cd for marketed varieties and < 10% for tribal varieties. Although the consumption of the Indian herbal medicine, especially the tribal varieties, posed no immediate concern as the average THQ was less than 1, 24% of the marketed varieties had a higher metal burden and could pose threat on long-term use. Our findings advocate the use of tribal medicines for therapeutic purposes owing to a relatively lesser metal burden than the marketed varieties. However, for the marketed varieties, appropriate standardization in terms of effective quality control and consistency is needed to ensure the health of the consumers.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4

References

  1. Adhikari PP, Talukdar S, Borah A (2018) Ethnomedicobotanical study of indigenous knowledge on medicinal plants used for the treatment of reproductive problems in Nalbari district, Assam, India. J Ethnopharmacol 210:386–407

  2. Araujo J, Beelen AP, Lewis LD et al (2004) Lead poisoning associated with Ayurvedic medications – five states 2000-2003. Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 53:582–584

  3. Asagba SO, Eriyamremu GE, Igberaese ME (2008) Bioaccumulation of cadmium and its biochemical effect on selected tissues of the catfish (Clarias gariepinus). Fish Physiol Biochem 34:61–69

  4. ATSDR (2012) Toxicological profile for cadmium. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Public Health Service, US Department of Health and Human Services, Atlanta, GA, USA

  5. Baye H, Hymete A (2010) Lead and cadmium accumulation in medicinal plants collected from environmentally different sites. B Environ Contam Tox 84:197–201

  6. Bortey-Sam N, Nakayama SM, Ikenaka Y, Akoto O, Baidoo E, Yohannes YB, Mizukawa H, Ishizuka M (2015) Human health risks from metals and metalloid via consumption of food animals near gold mines in Tarkwa, Ghana: estimation of the daily intakes and target hazard quotients (THQs). Ecotoxicol Environ Saf 111:160–167

  7. Caldas ED, Machado LL (2004) Cadmium, mercury and lead in medicinal herbs in Brazil. Food Chem Toxicol 42:599–603

  8. Chien LC, Yeh CY, Lee HC, Chao HJ, Shieh MJ, Han BC (2006) Effect of the mother's consumption of traditional Chinese herbs on estimated infant daily intake of lead from breast milk. Sci Total Environ 354:120–126

  9. Corder GW, Foreman DI (2011) Nonparametric statistics for non-statisticians. John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, pp 99–105

  10. Dargan PI, Gawarammana IB, Archer JR, House IM, Shaw D, Wood D (2008) Heavy metal poisoning from Ayurvedic traditional medicines: an emerging problem? Int J Environ Heal 2:463–474

  11. Dey S, Saxena A, Dan A, Swarup D (2009) Indian medicinal herb: a source of lead and cadmium for humans and animals. Arch Environ Occup H 64:164–167

  12. Eaton AD, Clesceri LS, Greenberg AE (1995) Standard methods of the examination of water and wastewater, Nineteenthth edn. APHA, Washington DC

  13. Ernst E (2002) Heavy metals in traditional Indian remedies. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 57:891–896

  14. FAO/WHO (1993) Evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. 41st Report of Joint FAO/WHO Committee on Food Additives, Geneva

  15. FAO/WHO (2003) Joint FAO/WHO expert committee on food additives (June 2003) 61st meeting, Rome, 10–19

  16. FDA (2002) Dietary supplements: warnings and safety information. College Park, MD.: FDA Centre for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition

  17. Garvey GJ, Hahn G, Lee RV, Harbison RD (2001) Heavy metal hazards of Asian traditional remedies. Int J Environ Health Res 11:63–71

  18. Graham RE, Ahn AC, Davis RB, O'Connor BB, Eisenberg DM, Phillips RS (2005) Use of complementary and alternative medical therapies among racial and ethnic minority adults: results from the 2002 National Health Interview Survey. J Natl Med Assoc 97:535–545

  19. Gupta S, Pandotra P, Gupta AP, Dhar JK, Sharma G, Ram G, Husain MK, Bedi YS (2010) Volatile (As and Hg) and non-volatile (Pb and Cd) toxic heavy metals analysis in rhizome of Zingiber officinale collected from different locations of North Western Himalayas by atomic absorption spectroscopy. Food Chem Toxicol 48:2966–2971

  20. He PP, Lv XZ, Wang GY (2004) Effects of se and Zn supplementation on the antagonism against Pb and Cd in vegetables. Environ Int 30:167–172

  21. Isaac RA, Kerber JD (1971) Atomic absorption and flame photometry: techniques and uses in soil and plant and water analysis. In: Walsh LM (ed) Instrumental methods for analysis of soils and plant tissue. Soil Science Society of America, Madison, p 125

  22. Kamath SU, Pemiah B, Sekar RK, Krishnaswamy S, Sethuraman S, Krishnan UM (2012) Mercury-based traditional herbo-metallic preparations: a toxicological perspective. Arch Toxicol 86:831–838

  23. Khan IA, Allgood J, Walker LA, Abourashed EA, Schlenk D, Benson WH (2001) Determination of heavy metals and pesticides in ginseng products. J AOAC Int 84:936–939

  24. Koh HL, Woo SO (2000) Chinese proprietary medicine in Singapore: regulatory control of toxic heavy metals and undeclared drugs. Drug Saf 23:351–362

  25. Krejpcio Z, Krol E, Sionkowski S (2007) Evaluation of heavy metals contents in spices and herbs available on the Polish market. Pol J Environ Stud 16:97–100

  26. Kurt-Karakus PB (2012) Determination of heavy metals in indoor dust from Istanbul, Turkey: estimation of the health risk. Environ Int 50:47–55

  27. Lu Y, Yang D, Song X, Wang S, Song M, Hang T (2017) Bioaccessibility and health risk assessment of mercury in cinnabar containing traditional Chinese medicines. J Trace Elem Med Biol 44:17–25

  28. Lynch E, Braithwaite R (2005) A review of the clinical and toxicological aspects of traditional (herbal) medicines adulterated with heavy metals. Expert Opin Drug Saf 4:769–778

  29. Ministry of Ayush, Government of India (2017) Annu Rep 2017

  30. Nookabkaew S, Rangkadilok N, Satayavivad J (2006) Determination of trace elements in herbal tea products and their infusions consumed in Thailand. J Agric Food Chem 54:6939–6944

  31. NSF International (2008) NSF International Standard/American National Standard #173 for dietary supplements. Ann Arbor, United States: NSF International

  32. Pizzol M, Thomsen M, Andersen MS (2010) Long-term human exposure to lead from different media and intake pathways. Sci Total Environ 408:5478–5488

  33. Rai V, Kakkar P, Khatoon S, Rawat AKS, Mehrotra S (2001) Heavy metal accumulation in some herbal drugs. Pharm Biol 39:384–387

  34. Reuters Editorial News (2018) Future Trend of Herbal Medicine Market 2018 Scope at a CAGR of ~ 7.2% during 2017 to 2023-Increasing Demand for Safe Therapies. 12 April, 2018 (Accessed on 29 January, 2019, att)

  35. Roberts JR, Reigart JR, Ebeling M, Hulsey TC (2001) Time required for blood lead levels to decline in non-chelated children. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol 39:153–160

  36. Saper RB, Kales SN, Paquin J, Burns MJ, Eisenberg DM, Davis RB, Phillips RS (2004) Heavy metal content of Ayurvedic herbal medicine products. JAMA 292:2868–2873

  37. Saper RB, Phillips RS, Sehgal A, Khouri N, Davis RB, Paquin J, Thuppil V, Kales SN (2008) Lead, mercury, and arsenic in US- and Indian-manufactured Ayurvedic medicines sold via the internet. JAMA 300:915–923

  38. Stanifer JW, Kilonzo K, Wang D, Su G, Mao W, Zhang L, Zhang L, Nayak-Rao S, Miranda JJ (2017) Traditional medicines and kidney disease in low-and middle-income countries: opportunities and challenges. Semin Nephrol 37:245–259

  39. Tokalıoğlu Ş (2012) Determination of trace elements in commonly consumed medicinal herbs by ICP-MS and multivariate analysis. Food Chem 134:2504–2508

  40. US EPA (1989) Cadmium; CASRN 7440-43-9. IRIS Chemical Assessment Summary, Washington, DC

  41. US EPA (1999) Guidance for performing aggregate exposure and risk assessments. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Pesticide Programs, Washington DC

  42. Van der Oost R, Beyer J, Vermeulen NP (2003) Fish bioaccumulation and biomarkers in environmental risk assessment: a review. Environ Toxicol Pharmacol 13:57–149

  43. WHO (2003) Guidelines on good agricultural and collection practices (GACP) for medicinal plants. Geneva

  44. WHO (2005) National policy on traditional medicine and regulations of herbal medicines. Geneva

  45. WHO (2007) WHO guidelines for assessing quality of herbal medicines with reference to contaminants and residues, Geneva

  46. WHO (2011) WHO food additive series: 64 – safety evaluation of certain food additives and contaminants. Prepared by the seventy-third meeting of JECFA. Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives

  47. Wu Q, Lu YF, Shi JZ, Liang SX, Shi JS, Liu J (2011) Chemical form of metals in traditional medicines underlines potential toxicity in cell cultures. J Ethnopharmacol 134:839–843

  48. Zhang J, Wider B, Shang H, Li X, Ernst E (2012) Quality of herbal medicines: challenges and solutions. Complement Ther Med 20:100–106

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Suchismita Das.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Additional information

Publisher’s note

Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Nath, A., Chakraborty, D. & Das, S. Assessment of lead and cadmium in fifty-four Indian herbal medicine: tribal and marketed varieties. Environ Sci Pollut Res 27, 4127–4136 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11356-019-07091-w

Download citation

Keywords

  • Herbal medicine
  • Tribal medicine
  • Metal
  • Health hazard