Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 16, pp 15767–15778 | Cite as

Metals and metalloids in traditional medicines (Ayurvedic medicines, nutraceuticals and traditional Chinese medicines)

  • Eva T. GyamfiEmail author
Review Article


Traditional medicine (TM) including Ayurvedic medicines, traditional Chinese medicines and nutraceuticals are popular across the globe as dietary supplements and traditional and alternative medicines. Health risks from these remedies continue to present serious concerns, with occurrences of poisoning by metals and metalloids present at concentrations above acceptable regulatory standards. This review overviews the prevalence of TM use, cases of metal and metalloid poisoning following TM consumption, and forms of TM contamination and adulteration. The review summarises regulations by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other relevant bodies. Finally, the review recommends how to protect consumers.


Traditional medicine Metals and metalloids Health risk Acceptable standards World Health Organization (WHO) 


Funding information

The author received financial support from Macquarie University through an International Macquarie Research Training Program Scholarship (iMQRTP) and the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission for a study leave grant.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5023_MOESM1_ESM.docx (130 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 129 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental SciencesMacquarie UniversitySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Nuclear Chemistry and Environmental Research Centre, Ghana Atomic Energy CommissionNational Nuclear Research InstituteAccraGhana

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