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Proceedings of the International Academy of Ecology and Environmental Sciences, 2022, 12(2): 54-73
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Article

Chemical and microbial contamination of herbal remedies and their potential health implications: A review

Gilbert U. Adie, Chidiebere Chinonso Ogbonna
Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Science, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria

Received 9 February 2022;Accepted 20 March 2022;Published 1 June 2022
IAEES

Abstract
Herbal medicines are generally regarded as safe based on their long-standing use in various cultures. However, there are case reports of serious adverse effects after administration of herbal products. In a lot of cases, the toxicity has been traced to contaminants and adulteration. Assessment of the safety of herbal products, therefore, is the first priority in herbal research. This paper critically reviews a number of publications on the safety of herbal remedies consumed in Nigeria and across the globe. It was observed that most of the herbal remedies contain several chemical and microbial contaminants of priority concern. Even though reported at low concentrations, most times within the threshold limits set by regulatory bodies, continuous consumption may pose serious health challenge as most of these contaminants have ability to bio-accumulate and biomagnify in the cells/tissues of consumers. Furthermore, there is dearth in information on speciation studies on some of the contaminants; therefore it is proposed that future research should include as a major component speciation studies of the contaminants as the different forms of them exhibit different physico-chemical properties including toxicities. The study concludes by suggesting measures of improving the quality of herbal medicines consumed in Nigeria and gaps that exist in literature.

Keywords aerosols;herbal medicine;chemical contaminant;microbial contaminant;heavy metals;poly aromatic hydrocarbons;pesticide residues.



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