keywords: Carcinogenic, Herbal medicinal preparations, PAH, RP-HPLC, safety,
The use of medicinal plants in primary healthcare is increasing worldwide and there is need to determine the safety of herbal medicinal preparations obtained from these plants. Due to the increase in cancer cases worldwide it is expedient to monitor carcinogens in herbal medicinal preparations sold to the public. Objective: The objective of this study was to determine the levels of PAHs in Boswellia serrata, Prosopis africana, Anogeissus leiocarpus and Sclerocarya birrea herbal medicinal preparations obtained from the Markets in Zaria, Kaduna State. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) Method 3550 for the extraction of non-volatile and semi –volatile organic compounds from solid samples was used. US EPA method 8310 was employed in the separation of 18 PAHs on Phenomenex Luna C18 (250 x 3.0 mm, 5 µm) column and quality control measures were undertaken to determine method performance, sensitivity, accuracy and precision of the method used. Phenanthrene was detected in stem barks of Prosopis africana and Sclerocarya birrea at concentration of 0.0625 mg/kg and 0.0648 mg/kg respectively. Pyrene was detected in stem barks of Anogeissus leiocarpus, Prosopis africana and Sclerocarya birrea at concentrations of 0.0.0091 mg/kg, 0.0137 mg/kg, and 0.027mg/kg respectively. The sum of PAHs in stem barks of Anogeissus leiocarpus, Prosopis africana, Sclerocarya birrea and Boswellia serrata was 0.0941 mg/kg, 0.0762 mg/kg, 0.0855 mg/kg and 0.00mg/kg respectively. The herbal medicinal preparations monitored in this study had the ∑PAH below 2.0 mg/kg WHO permissible limit which makes the substances analysed safe for human consumption.