Plant extracts are extremely complex matrices to analyse due to their high concentration, creating much more interference than conventional matrices. Only a few expert laboratories are able to carry out this type of service.
A World Health Organization survey indicated that about 70-80% of the world’s population depends on non-conventional, mainly herbal medicine in their primary health care. In recent years, we have seen a growing popularity of over-the-counter (non-prescription) health foods, nutraceuticals and medicines based on plants or other natural sources in developed countries.
However, these over-the-counter products can be contaminated with excessive amounts of permitted or prohibited pesticides, microbial contaminants, heavy metals, chemical toxins and adulterated with orthodox medicines. These excess or banned pesticides and heavy metals may be linked to the source of the plant materials, if grown in a contaminated environment or during the collection of these plant materials.