Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 167, Issue 2, pp 326–337 | Cite as

Potential Health Risk of Herbal Distillates and Decoctions Consumption in Shiraz, Iran

  • F. Moore
  • R. AkhbarizadehEmail author
  • B. Keshavarzi
  • F. Tavakoli


Concentration of 26 elements in 16 different herbal distillates and 5 herbal decoctions, were determined using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The elemental content of five raw herbal materials used for making decoctions and seven distilled and boiled residues were also evaluated by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). The results indicated that herbal products display a wide range of elemental concentrations. Compared with world health regulations, the concentrations of the elements in herbal distillates and decoctions did not exceed the recommended limits. The analysis of herbal extracts did not show a significant transfer of toxic elements during decoction preparation. Comparison of elemental content among fresh herbal material and herbal distillate and decoction of the same herb showed that, besides the elemental abundance of herbal organs, the ionic potential of elements also play an important role in elemental content of herbal products. Based on the results of the research, it seems that most health benefits attributed to herbal products (especially herbal distillates) are more related to their organic compounds rather than elemental composition. Calculated hazard quotient (HQ) and hazard index (HI) were used to evaluate the noncarcinogenic health risk from individual and combined metals via daily consumption of 100 ml of herbal distillates and 250 ml of herbal decoctions. Both HQs and HI through consumption of herbal distillates and herbal decoctions (except Valerian) were below 1. Apparently, daily consumption of herbal distillates and decoctions at the indicated doses poses no significant health risk to a normal adult.


Herbal distillates Herbal decoctions Elemental content Potential health risk Dietary intake 



Financial support for this study was provided by Shiraz University Research committee. The authors would also like to express their gratitude to medical geology research center of Shiraz University for logistic support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • F. Moore
    • 1
  • R. Akhbarizadeh
    • 1
    Email author
  • B. Keshavarzi
    • 1
  • F. Tavakoli
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Earth Sciences, College of ScienceShiraz UniversityShirazIran

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