Keywords: medicinal plants, radionuclides, 210Po, gamma-dose rates, polonium, radioactivity, low radiation, herbal medicine, ayurvedic medicines
Radioactivity in ayurvedic medicinal plants
Information on the radiation level and radionuclide concentration in different environmental matrices is available in the literature. However, systematic studies on the distribution and enrichment of radionuclides in plant species, especially in ayurvedic medicinal plants, are sparse. Mankind still depends on traditional herbal medicine for the treatment of various diseases and ailments. As natural herbs are the main ingredients of ayurvedic medicines, the study of radionuclide concentration in such herbs has great significance. In view of this, 12 ayurvedic medicinal plants collected from Moodabidri, near Mangalore, were analysed for the activity concentration of 210Po, an important contributor to the internal exposure of human population. The 210Po activity in the medicinal plants was found to vary from 6.3 to 56.9 Bq kg−1 with a mean value of 27.8 Bq kg−1. The absorbed gamma-dose rate in the study area varied from 34.8 to 52.2 nGy h−1 with a mean value of 43.5 nGy h−1. The results obtained are presented and discussed in this paper.