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.

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 August 1, 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 August 1, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

Pyrenees Orphan Bear Cub Gets Brand New Home

AFP (Aug. 1, 2014) The discovery of a bear cub in the Pyrenees mountains made headlines in April 2014. Despire several attempts to find the animal's mother, the cub remained alone. Now, the Pyrenees Conservation Foundation has constructed an enclosure. Duration: 00:31 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Ebola Vaccine Might Be Coming, But Where's It Been?

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Health officials are working to fast-track a vaccine — the West-African Ebola outbreak has killed more than 700. But why didn't we already have one? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Study Links Certain Birth Control Pills To Breast Cancer

Newsy (Aug. 1, 2014) Previous studies have made the link between birth control and breast cancer, but the latest makes the link to high-estrogen oral contraceptives. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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