Quantitative and Qualitative Assessment of Selected Herbal Remedies Marketed in Nigeria

Download Article

Authors : Opeyemi Orhekafore Bedu


There has been an upsurge in the consumption of herbal remedies due to its availability, increased popularity, poor medical services and inequalities in health service distribution in developing countries. However, regulatory and safety issues remain a concern. This study is aimed at assessing the concentration levels of some microelements and macroelements in NAFDAC approved herbal remedies, and also to assess the compliance of those products with national stipulated requirements for outer pack labelling. A total of ten (10) herbal products that are marketed in Nigeria were randomly purchased and analysed to determine the concentration levels of selected elements (Zn, Fe, Ni, Mn, Pb, Cd, Na and K) using AAS. The results indicated that Zn, Fe, Ni, Mn, Pb, Cd, Na and K have their own trends of concentrations in all the samples studied. Although all the samples contained Pb and Cd, the concentrations were below WHO permissible limits. Also, the assessment of the outer pack labelling of the products revealed that none of the samples complied totally with the national stipulated requirements. Conclusively, the study has shown that the quality and safety of herbal products needs to be regulated effectively before launching into the market.


Herbal remedies, macroelements, microelements, labelling, NAFDAC, AAS


1.      Agency for Toxic substances and Disease Registry (2007). Toxicological profile for lead. Atlanta GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service.

2.      Aweng E.R, Noor Syuviadah S, Norashikin M.F, Nur Izzati S, Ahmad Fadli A.S (2014). Evaluation of Nutrition and Toxicity level of the Concoction of Tropical Herbs used for Herbal Rice. Journal of Applied Phytotechnolgy in Environmental Sanitation, 3(3): 109-115.

3.      http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/much-zinc-bad-for-you-5921.html accessed on 1 October 2014

4.      http://biomol.pl/biomol/en-GB/articles/microelements/elements-in-a-human-body.html. (Accessed September, 2014)

5.      Isangadeghi B.A (2012). Herbal medicines in Healthcare. In: NAFDAC Consumer Safety Publication Issue 01 volume 02 p.17

6.      Kabata-Pendias A, Pendias H (1992). Trace elements in Soil and Plants. CRC Press Inc., Boca Raton, Florida.

7.      Kay I, Incekara N. (2000). J. Turkish Weed Sci 3:56-64

8.      Khan Z.I, Ahmad K, Rasheed M.J.Z, Nawaz R, Ayub M, Zahoor F.A., Parveen B (2013). Toxic and some essential metals in medicinal plants used in herbal medicines: A case study in Pakistan. Afr. J. Pharm. Pharmacol vol.7(21); pp 1389-1395.

9.      National policy on traditional medicine and regulation of Herbal medicines (2005)- Report of a WHO Global Survey

10.  Ogunrin Y (2012). Evolution of Herbal medicine. In: NAFDAC Consumer Safety Publication Issue 01 volume 01 p.6

11.  Osakwe A.I (2012). Safety monitoring of Herbal medicines. In: NAFDAC Consumer Safety Publication Issue 01 volume 01 p.11

12.  Oshikoya K. A., Senbanjo I. O., Njokanma O. F., Soipe A. (2008). “Use of complementary and alternative medicines for children with chronic health conditions in Lagos, Nigeria” BMC complementary and alternative medicines vol. 8 p. 66

13.  Samali A, Kirim R.A, Mustapha K.B (2012). Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of some herbal teas commonly consumed in Nigeria. Afr. J. Pharm. Pharmacol vol.6(6); pp 384-388.

14.  Sayyed M.R. Sayadi M.H (2011). Variations in the heavy metal accumulations within the surface soils from the Chigtar Industrial are of Tehran. Proceedings of the International Academy of Ecology and environmental sciences I(I): 36-46

15.  Stedman’s Medical Dictionary (2000). Pugh M.B, editor. 27th edition Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, USA. p.578, 1051

16.  WHO (2005). Quality Control Methods for Medicinal Plant Materials, Revised, Geneva.

17.  WHO (2008). WHO media centre Traditional Medicine Fact Sheet No 134 2008 (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs134/en/) Accessed January 9, 2015.

18.  WHO Media Centre: Traditional Medicine. Fact sheet No 134 2008 [http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs134/en/], (accessed September 2014)

19.  Zaidi M.I, Asrar A, Mansoor A, Farooqui M.A (2005). The heavy metal concentrations along roadside trees of Quetta and its effect on public health. Journal of Applied Science, vol.5, pp. 708-711