Assessment of essential and non-essential elements in selected traditional medicines from India, Ghana and China

Eva T. Gyamfi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Traditional medicine (TM) also known as folk medicine consists of medical knowledge systems that were developed over generations in various countries before the era of modern medicine. Over the last few years, there has been a shift in universal trend from modern medicine to TM because it is believed that these medicines are non-toxic to humans, have little to no side-effects, are readily available and affordable. The purpose of this study was to investigate the essential and non-essential elemental concentrations of ayurvedic medicines (AM), Ghanaian traditional medicines (GTM) and Chinese traditional medicines (CTM). The results indicate that the mean elemental concentrations in TM varied greatly. The mean concentrations of copper and mercury in AM, GTM and CTM ranged from 4 to 45 mg/kg and 0.01 to 2 mg/kg, respectively. Multivariate statistical analyses applied to recognise inter-element associations indicated that at 0.05 significant level, there was a positive correlation between elements suggesting they may have originated from the same source. The study concludes by highlighting the need for monitoring of the elemental concentrations in commonly consumed traditional medicines regularly to detect contamination in these medicines since the occurrence of metals in these medicines above or below legally permissible limits can be harmful to consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1812-1822
Number of pages11
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • Ayurvedic medicines
  • Ghanaian traditional medicines
  • Chinese traditional medicines
  • Concentrations
  • Toxic
  • Elements

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