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Tripathy V.,ICAR Directorate of Medicinal Aromatic Plants Research | Basak B.B.,ICAR Directorate of Medicinal Aromatic Plants Research | Varghese T.S.,ICAR Directorate of Medicinal Aromatic Plants Research | Saha A.,ICAR Directorate of Medicinal Aromatic Plants Research
Phytochemistry Letters | Year: 2015

With the increasing popularity and use of medicinal herbs, their global demand has gained momentum. Developing countries, including China, India and South East Asian (SEA) countries, are the centres of origin and major global suppliers for most of these traditionally used medicinal herbs. One of the factors affecting the quality of these herbs is the contamination of heavy metals, mycotoxins, pesticide residues, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and fumigants. These contaminants can accumulate during the cultivation, storage and processing of herbs and may have adverse effects on consumer health. There have been various reports regarding the presence of these contaminants in medicinal herbs. This review discusses the important contaminants of medicinal herbs, the frequency and magnitude of their occurrences, the potential causes of contamination and their regulatory limits in medicinal herbs. The major challenge in the international trade of medicinal herbs is the lack of common guidelines, regulatory measures and monitoring body to strictly enforce their regulation. © 2015 Phytochemical Society of Europe. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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