HEALTH RISK DUE TO ENRICHMENT OF CADMIUM, CHROMIUM, COPPER, NICKEL AND LEAD IN SOME COMMON MEDICINAL PLANTS USED IN AYURVEDIC AND HERBAL FORMULATIONSSHAIL KULSHRESTHA
Medicinal plants are widely used in Ayurvedic and herbal treatment systems for their easy cultivation, wide availability and low cost. Heavy metals from agri- soil are bio-accumulated in the roots and above ground parts of the plants in varying concentrations. Several studies reported that medicinal plants enriched with one or more heavy metals beyond their safe limits, when used as raw materials in Ayurvedic and herbal formulations may induce health risk to the consumers. In view of this backdrop, present study was carried out to assess the enrichment levels of Cd, Cr, Cu, Ni and Pb in ten medicinal plants grown on garden soil. For comparison purpose, five medicinal plants collected from waste dump sites were also investigated. The consumer health risk in terms of metal enrichment factor (EF) and metal pollution index (MPI) were also evaluated. The levels of tested metals in all the 50 samples of ten medicinal plants collected from walled garden were below WHO acceptable limits; however, all 25 plant samples collected from waste dump sites recorded much higher levels of these metals. The EFs of tested metals in ten medicinal plants were Cd (0.26-0.58), Cr (0.37- 0.51), Cu (0.36-0.53), Ni (0.36-9.52) and Pb (0.44- 0.62). The MPI values due to tested metals computed for ten medicinal plants collected from walled garden were < 0.50, however, all the MPI for five plants collected from waste dump sites were < 1.0 and the values varied as: Vasaka (1.21) > Parijat (1.19) > Papaya (1.11) > Giloy (1.07) > Curry leaf plant (1.07mg/Kg).