HomeScientific Augustinianvol. 9 no. 1 (2019)

Profiling the Heavy Metal Contents of Commercial Herbal Teas in Iloilo, Philippines

Neaven Bon Joy M Marcial | Marjorie S Carisma | Gerard G Dumancas | Aneline P Tolones | Jonel P Saludes



Traditional medicinal plants such as Ampalaya (Momordica charantia) and Sambong (Blumea balsamifera) are commonly used as folk medicine in the Philippines. For consumer convenience and accessibility to the pharmacological properties of these herbal plants, manufacturers have packaged these plant parts into commercial herbal teas. In support of the Philippine National Unified Health Research Agenda, 2017-2022, this study evaluated the safety of herbal teas by profiling their heavy metal contents and comparing them to acceptable standards. The extractable copper (Cu), iron (Fe), zinc (Zn), cadmium (Cd), and lead (Pb) in commercial M. charantia and B. balsamifera herbal tea infusions were analyzed using flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The concentrations detected were 0.015-0.070 ppm, 0.000-0.225 ppm, 0.000-0.477 ppm, 0.000-0.074 ppm, 0.000-0.867 ppm for Cu, Fe, Zn, Cd, and Pb, respectively. All obtained values were within the maximum allowable limits stipulated in DOH-PNSDW 2017 and FDA-AO 187 s.2004. The result indicates that the selected commercial Philippine herbal teas adhere to acceptable limits of heavy metal contents and their consumption does not pose health hazards.