Background: Herbal medicine is widely used for prevention and treatment of diseases worldwide including Palestine and may require long term usage. The level of some heavy metals and microbial contaminants in some of these medicinal plant consumed by Palestinians were studied in order to evaluate their quality.
Methodology: The level of metals including: Zinc, Cadmium, Lead and Copper were quantified by Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS). Moreover, the bacterial and fungal contaminations were tested for some of the selected plants in Palestine. The procedures of microbial and elemental testing of the plants followed USP.
Result: The result of the heavy metals showed that copper and cadmium were above the allowable limits in all the tested plant. Zinc metal was above the allowable limit in 78.9% of the tested samples. The microbiological results of the tested plants showed that 63.2% of the tested plants were contaminated by bacteria and 89.5% were contaminated by yeast.
Conclusion: Herbal used in the Palestinian markets doesn’t meet the international requirement of heavy metal and microbiological limits. Therefore, an urgent action has to be taken by the responsible authorities including the Ministry of health to implement importation and registration requirements and perform regular quality check of sold and imported herbal. Pharmacists as expert professionals must take an active role in selling and advising consumers about quality and efficacy of the sold plants.