TOXIC HEAVY METALS FROM MEDICINAL HERBS-THE REASON YOU STILL FEEL SICK: AN OVERVIEW
Priyanka Bajpai*, Om Prakash, Rohit Mohan and Amresh Gupta
Drugs based on herbs have become a common form of therapy as well as for prophylaxis because they are often perceived as being natural and therefore harmless. Today they are one of the hottest trends and most sought after in the field of nutrition or herbal therapeutics. Plants experience oxidative stress upon exposure to heavy metals that leads to cellular damage. In addition, plants accumulate metal ions that disturb cellular ionic homeostasis. To minimize the detrimental effects of heavy metals exposure and their accumulation, plants have evolved detoxification mechanisms. Such mechanisms are mainly based on chelation and sub-cellular compartmentalization. Chelating of heavy metals is a ubiquitous detoxification strategy described in wide variety of plants. The article reviews the recent literature on heavy metal toxicity in herbal medicines, which imposes serious health risks to human health and reinforces the safety aspect of herbal products, which are considered to be relatively safe by common people.
Keywords: heavy metals; metal toxicity; oxidative stress; free radicals, detoxification.
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