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J Ethnopharmacol. 2013 Jun 21;148(1):158-64. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2013.04.005. Epub 2013 Apr 19.

Determination of toxic heavy metals in indigenous medicinal plants used in Rawalpindi and Islamabad cities, Pakistan.

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1
Environmental Biology and Ecotoxicology Laboratory, Department of Plant Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, PO 45320, Pakistan.

Abstract

ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE:

History of medicinal plants used in local healthcare systems dates back centuries as the user considers them safe from toxic effects. Present study was aimed to document the commonly used indigenous medicinal plants and to investigate the metal toxicity and impact of pollution load in most frequently used medicinal plants from study area.

MATERIAL AND METHODS:

Semi-structured interviews and rapid appraisal approach were employed to record the ethnomedicinal information and toxic metals were analyzed through flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

A total of 21 wild medicinal plants was reported, and 7 were screened for toxic metal analysis. Oral mode of application (93%) was the chief route of herbal remedy administration, and leaves were found to be used as major plant part against different diseases. Main sources of remedies were wild herb (68%) followed by wild trees (18%), wild spiny shrubs (09%) and wild shrubs (5%). Trend of metal concentration was found as Fe>Ni>Cr>Pb>Cu>Zn>Mn>Cd. Indigenous medicinal plants of both cities posed the toxicity risk for Ni, Cu, Fe and crossed the safety limits set by WHO.

CONCLUSION:

Medicinal plants of Rawalpindi were more toxic compared to the medicinal plants of Islamabad. Prolonged intake or over dose of these medicinal plants may lead to chronic accumulation of various elements that may cause severe hazardous effect upon human health.

PMID:
23608242
DOI:
10.1016/j.jep.2013.04.005
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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