Understanding element composition of medicinal plants used in herbalism—A case study by analytical atomic spectrometry

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HighlightsSources of elements in medicinal plants and herbs outlined.Sample treatment for element analysis of herbal decoctions and infusions surveyed.Spectrochemical element analysis of herbal decoctions and infusions reviewed.Ways of calibration and quality assurance of results discussed.This review article is focused on element composition of medicinal plants and herbs as well as their decoctions and infusions determined by atomic spectrometry methods. Considering quality and safety of these herbal beverages, widely practiced in herbalism for medicinal and supplementing purposes, element analysis is important, and quality of its results should not raise any doubts about reliability. Hence, original researches devoted to element analysis of decoctions and infusions of medicinal plants and herbs, published after 2000, have been surveyed in details, particularly focusing on sources of elements in medicinal plants, their availability for the intake during preparation of infusions and decoctions as well as different methodological aspects related to element analysis by atomic spectrometry, including sample pretreatment and preparation before measurements, calibration methods used, and verification of reliability of results.

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