Heavy metal content in an ayurvedic formulation Triphala prepared by different manufacturers

Author(s): Sunita Shailajan, Ambika Sharma

Triphala is an age old commonly used Ayurvedic powdered preparation in Indian systems of medicine. This well known formulation is made by combining Phyllanthus emblica Linn. (amalaki), Terminalia bellirica (Gaertn.) Roxb. (bibhitaki) and Terminalia chebula (haritaki), in equal proportions as mentioned inAyurvedic Formulary of India (AFI). The formulation is prescribed in the first line treatment of many ailments and is used as laxative, detoxifying agent and rejuvenator. Triphala is used for curing diseases of eyes,mouth, ulcer (inflammation), promotes health and immunity, detoxifies the whole body and acts as cardio-tonic. It is also used in treatment of jaundice and pthisis due to vata dosa and slesma dosa. Triphala is manufactured by severalmanufacturers in India. The preparation is a poly herbal formulation containing threemedicinal plants amalaki, bibhitaki and haritaki. Triphala itself is used as an ingredient in other formulations like Pancaguna Taila, Triphala guggul etc. Different manufacturers collect fruits from different habitats. High concentration of heavy metals in formulation may be due to collection of fruits fromdifferent habitats like farmlandswhere there is excess use of fertilizers or from the plants growing near the highways where the plants are exposed to automobile pollutants. Five heavy metals Cu, Zn, Pb, Ni, and Hg which are contributed through various sources from the atmosphere and automobiles were analysed in Triphala of different manufacturers and from Triphala in-house (prepared in laboratory) by Optical Emission Spectroscopy which uses the technique of Inductively coupled plasma. ICP-OES is one of the analysis techniques of trace elements. Out of the Triphala samples analysed of different manufacturers, total heavymetal concentration was found to be maximuminManufacturer No.3 (M3) andminimumin Triphala in-house.

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