ASSESSMENT OF HEAVY METAL LOAD IN MEDICINAL PLANTS COLLECTED FROM A MAJOR WHOLESALE MARKET OF INDIASUMAN RANI, VINAY SINGH, MANOJ KUMAR SHARMA AND RAMA SISODIA
Increased usage and demand of medicinal plants (MP) in recent times has consequently resulted in increased requirement of quality raw material. Reports of heavy metal contamination of MP has been a major cause of concern in this regard. Studies to determine the source and level of metal in MP are important to assess the risk to human health. The present study was conducted to determine the metal content of MP sold in a major Indian wholesale market- Khari Baoli. Samples of fifteen widely used MP were collected and analyzed for heavy metal load using atomic absorption spectrometer. Presence of heavy metals such as Cadmium (Cd), Lead (Pb), Zinc (Zn), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu) and Iron (Fe) was detected in MP samples. The highest concentrations detected were of Cd in Anacyclus pyrethrum (0.027 Â± 0.011 ppm), Pb in Swertia chirayita (0.090 Â± 0.025 ppm), Zn in Stevia rebaudiana (4.41 Â± 0.00 ppm), Cu in Piper longum (1.031 Â± 0 ppm), Ni and Fe in Nardostachys jatamansi (0.307 Â± 0.192 ppm, 8.716 Â± 0.386 ppm respectively). Heavy metals detected in all the test samples were within permissible limits set by the World Health Organization, thus ascertained to be fit for consumption. Potential health risk to humans posed by these metals was calculated using estimated daily intake (EDI) and target hazard quotient (THQ), and was found to be significant for Cd metal. Amongst the plants Eclipta sp. was ascertained to have a significant THQ for all the metals tested. The study confirms that MP raw materials need to be monitored regularly and consumed in moderation to reduce toxicity risk due to bioaccumulation.