Keywords: atomic absorption spectroscopy, instrumental neutron activation analysis, inter-elemental correlations, medicinal plants, trace elements analysis, nutrients, biological effects, Indian medicinal plants, India, Ayurvedic drugs, Ayurveda, disease control, disease cures
Determination of macro, micro nutrient and trace element concentrations in Indian medicinal plants using instrumental neutron activation analysis and atomic absorption spectroscopy techniques
Specific parts (fruits and seeds) of different medicinal plants often used in Indian Ayurvedic system were analysed for 18 elements (K, Mn, Na, Fe, Zn, Cu, Co, Br, Sm, Cl, La, Al, Cr, Ca Cd, Ni, Pb and Hg) by employing instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) and atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) techniques. The samples were irradiated with thermal neutrons in a nuclear reactor and the induced activities were counted by γ-ray spectrometry using efficiency calibrated high-resolution high purity germanium (HPGe) detector. Most of the medicinal plants were found to be rich in one or more of the elements under study. The elemental concentration in different part of medicinal plants and their biological effects on human being are discussed. It is expected that the experimental data on the elemental concentrations will be helpful in the synthesis of new Ayurvedic drugs for the control and cure of various diseases.