Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Analysis of herbal products shows contamination is common

Date:
October 10, 2013
Source:
BioMed Central Limited
Summary:
Most herbal products, available to buy as alternative medicines, may be contaminated. Researchers demonstrate the presence of contamination and substitution of plant species in a selection of herbal products using DNA barcoding.

Most herbal products, available to buy as alternative medicines, may be contaminated. Reporting in BioMed Central's open access journal BMC Medicine researchers demonstrate the presence of contamination and substitution of plant species in a selection of herbal products using DNA barcoding.

Related Articles


There is currently no best practice for identifying plant species in herbal products. Traditionally plants are identified through the appearance of the whole plant. This method is not useful though when analyzing processed plant material. DNA barcoding analyses a short genetic sequence from the plant's genome and identifies small differences that allows species identification. In this new study the researchers used barcoding to examine the plant species found in a sample of herbal plant products.

The results showed that 59% of the products contained plant species not listed on the labels. Over two thirds of the products tested had plant species present which were a substitution for the plants listed on the label and a third of products also contained other species that may be a filler or contamination.

According to the World Health Organization, the adulteration of herbal products is a threat to consumer safety. In this current analysis the researchers detected plant species that could pose serious health risks when consumed. The results revealed plant species with known toxicity, side effects and/or negatively interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications were present in some products.

The authors concluded that the contamination and substitution dilute the effectiveness of otherwise useful remedies, lowering the perceived value of all related products because of a lack of consumer confidence in them. 'We suggest that the herbal industry should embrace molecular diagnostic tools such as DNA barcoding for authenticating herbal products through testing of raw materials used in manufacturing products. This would be a minor cost to industry with a limited amount of bulk product testing, which would certify a high quality, authentic product', said Dr. Steven Newmaster of the University of Guelph and lead author of the paper.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central Limited. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Steven G Newmaster, Meghan Grguric, Dhivya Shanmughanandhan, Sathishkumar Ramalingam and Subramanyam Ragupathy. DNA barcoding detects contamination and substitution in North American herbal products. BMC Medicine, October 2013 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7015-11-222

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central Limited. "Analysis of herbal products shows contamination is common." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 October 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010205140.htm>.
BioMed Central Limited. (2013, October 10). Analysis of herbal products shows contamination is common. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010205140.htm
BioMed Central Limited. "Analysis of herbal products shows contamination is common." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/10/131010205140.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins