Functional Iron Oxide Nanocrystals and its Application on the Removal of Arsenic in Origanumvulgare Herbal Preparations

Quitos, Luzviminda S.; Paragas, Danila S.; Valdez, Roland G.
June 2014
Australian Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences;2014 Special, Vol. 8 Issue 8, p58
Academic Journal
Origanumvulgare which is commonly known asoregano, is an herbal plant that is usually recommended as alternative medicine. Traditionally, it has been used to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal disorders and menstrual irregularities. Modern herbalists recommend topical application of oregano oil for the treatment of infection. Studies also showed that it has antiviral and antifungal properties. Moreover, oregano is also known as a culinary herb used for flavourings and fragrances. Study on the heavy metal contents of selected medicinal plants including Origanumvulgare was conducted and it was found out that the toxic element arsenic was present in the leaves, barks and roots ranging from 2.85 to 3.39 mg/kg, values which are beyond the permissible level of 1 ppm set by FAO/WHO. The herbal infusion, likewise contains 0.4 µg/L. Arsenic is a semi-metal element, naturally occurring in the earth's crust. It is a white, harmless-looking powder, resembling flour or sugar at a quick glance, is virtually undetectable in hot food and drink and fatal in small doses. Thus, the removal of arsenic in oregano is of great importance. This study was designed to prepare functional iron oxide nanocrystals and aimed to remove arsenic present in three different herbal preparations namely hotinfusions, cold infusions and juice. The functional iron oxide nanocrystals were placed in the different herbal preparations namely hot infusion, cold infusion and juice and stirred for 5 minutes. The effect of different amounts of iron oxide nanocrystals was also investigated. The formation of bubbles on the surface of the nanocrystals was observed. The samples, before and after treatment, was analyzed using inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES).Results of the analysis showed that the functional iron oxide nanocrystals were able to remove 89.45-100% of the arsenic present in hot infusion, 2.70-33.33% in cold infusion, and 29.33-88.22% in oregano juice. The removal of arsenic is through nanomagnetism and based on the results of this study, the higher the amount of the nanorust, the higher the concentration of arsenic removed from the solution. Furthermore, temperature has an effect on the nanomagnetic properties of the functional iron oxide nanocrytals. Characterization of the nanocrystals before and after addition to the herbal preparation was done through scanning electron microscopy (SEM).


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