Evaluation of aflatoxin contamination in crude medicinal plants used for the preparation of herbal medicine

  • Harish ChandraEmail author
  • Pragati Kumari
  • Saurabh YadavEmail author
Short Communication


The medical focus is now on phytofoods, drugs and the consumption of medicinal plants is expanding worldwide. Safety and quality of herbal preparations is of great concern. Quality determines reproducible efficacy of herbal drugs and also safety is a concern both for public and health authorities in many countries specially developing ones. The reason attributed is that many contaminants and microbes that may cause quality deterioration and directly harm to the consumers, find entry in the crude herbal materials during collection and storage. The safety of these products is partially compromised due to the microbial presence, especially toxigenic fungi. The present study was designed to investigate the microbiological quality after storage of locally sold raw medicinal plants that were supplied to different pharma units involved in the preparation of herbal and various formulations of ayurvedic drugs. Twenty samples of raw medicinal plants were stored at room temperature for a year and subjected to microbiological evaluation and found that most of the samples loaded with bacterial and fungal contents, do not comply with the FDA regulations. The presence of aflatoxin gave signals of aflatoxin producing fungi i.e. A. flavus and A. parasiticus. So, there is an urgent need of making strategy to control the microbes during pre-harvest and post-harvest procedures. This study is an attempt to emphasize the need for consistent quality assessment of crude herbal drugs for safe therapeutic products suitable for human beings. Our findings may help in instituting public health standards towards production and safety of herbal drugs worldwide.


Aflatoxin Ayurveda Contamination Herbal medicine Microbial load Mycotoxin Public health 



HC is thankful to UGC, New Delhi for providing Start up Grant fund.

Author’s contribution

HC conducted the laboratory work and fieldwork. PK prepared figure and writing. HC contributed to analysis of data. SY helped in writing, editing and preparation of manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical statement


Conflict of interest

This manuscript described has not been published before; not under consideration for publication anywhere else; and has been approved by all co-authors.


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Copyright information

© Institute of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medicinal and Aromatic Plant, High Altitude Plant Physiology Research CentreHemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal (Central) UniversitySrinagar GarhwalIndia
  2. 2.Department of Botany and MicrobiologyGurukula Kangri VishwavidayalayaHaridwarIndia
  3. 3.Department of Life ScienceSinghania UniversityJhunjhunuIndia
  4. 4.Srinagar GarhwalIndia
  5. 5.Department of BiotechnologyHemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal (Central) UniversitySrinagar GarhwalIndia

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