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Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 187, Issue 1, pp 307–315 | Cite as

The Safety Assessment of Toxic Metals in Commonly Used Pharmaceutical Herbal Products and Traditional Herbs for Infants in Jordanian Market

  • Ala A. AlhusbanEmail author
  • Samah A. Ata
  • Sawsan A. Shraim
Article

Abstract

The objective of this study was to assess the levels of contamination by toxic metals (Pb, Al, Ni, Cd and As) that may be present in 25 infant pharmaceutical herbal products and 15 traditional herbs in Jordan. Both products and medicinal herbs are currently prescribed by paediatricians. They are available as over-the-counter medicines and are sold the in herbal market, ensuring easy accessibility for parents. Inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy (ICP-OES), with limit of detections (LODs) of 0.10, 1.00, 0.20, 0.15 and 2.00 mg.kg−1 for Pb, Al, Ni, Cd and As respectively, was employed to measure the levels of toxic metals in the samples. Pb, Al and Ni were detected in 88, 76 and 4% of the analysed samples of pharmaceutical herbal products and in 93, 87 and 13% of the analysed samples of traditional herbs, respectively. Neither Cd or As were detected in all analysed samples. The data obtained were subsequently compared by referral to the acceptable limits of toxic heavy metals according to World Health Organisation (WHO) standards. Largely, the results showed acceptable toxic metal levels in the finished pharmaceutical products and the traditional medicinal herbs for infants. One exception to this was Persian Thyme (Satureja thymbra) with Pb content of 41.18 mg.kg−1. Also, the daily intake of detected metals through pharmaceutical herbal products was found to be lower than the daily tolerable intake limit set by the regulatory bodies, except of 8% of products that exceeded the tolerable daily intake of Pb set by US FDA, as compared to traditional medicinal herbs, where the tolerable daily intake for Pb, Al and Ni were exceeded in 40, 60 and 8% of the analysed herbs, respectively. The results obtained revealed that the excessive use of medicinal plants as alternative medicine should be used with caution keeping in mind the safety factor in infants.

Keywords

Infant Herbal products Toxic metals Risk assessment Safety assessment ICP-OES 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ala A. Alhusban
    • 1
    Email author
  • Samah A. Ata
    • 1
  • Sawsan A. Shraim
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of PharmacyAl-Zaytoonah University of JordanAmmanJordan

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