Safe use of plants and herbs

Safety of plants and herbs can be an important reason to have your product tested by New Agro Research. Even if you think you know a plant or herb is safe of itself, this doesn’t mean that there are no risks associated with its use. This is because these risks may not lie in the product itself but rather in the way it is grown or processed. Plants are often grown using pesticides and sometimes even grown on  contaminated soil. In addition to that solvents are often needed to produce an extract of a plant or herb. When a residue of such a solvent is part of your product this may have serious health risks. It’s often hard if not impossible to find out how a product that you bought has been produced.  Below we discuss some potential contaminants of plants and herbs. We can test your product for all these contaminants.

 

Pesticides

Pesticides are used to protect crops against all kinds of diseases, pests and weeds. Lots of crops, like fruits and vegetables are grown usings pesticides. There are legal standards indicating how high the concentration of pesticides may be in food*. Still, there are many people who are concerned about the presence of pesticides in the products they use.   Some pesticides and combinations of pesticides are associated with health risks, even though it is often difficult to scientifically prove these associations. That being said, possible connections between exposure to pesticides and varying diseases that emerge from scientific literature are: childhood leukemia, brain cancer in adults, asthma, Parkinson’s disease and problems in mental development. For this reason, people in general are increasingly opting for (organic) products that are produced without or with a minimal amount of pesticides.

 

* These legal standards are set for many common foods. For certain herbs and plants however, these legal standards do not excist. When you buy these herbs or plants (in an extract of in crude form) it is often impossible to determine if there are not too many pesticides used in the production of these products.

 

Heavy metals

The soil on which plants and herbs are grown of course affects the quality of the final product as well. When the soil contains high concentrations of heavy metals, these metals can be detected in the plants and herbs grown on it. Heavy metals are, for example: lead, copper, zinc, and mercury. The ingestion of these metals may have health risks, especially for patients who are already vulnerable.

 

Solvents

Increasingly, plants and herbs are consumed in the form of oil. Solvents are used to produce oil from plants and herbs. Solvents are often substances like benzene, isopropyl, butane and hexane. In general, when this process is carried out properly the result will not cause any problems. However, there is always a risk that the final product still contains a residue of the solvent. The consumption of solvents may have health risks. Short term effects may be headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, illness, seizures and even death. Long term exposure to solvents is often associated with cancer, a clear relationship has been established between exposure to benzene and getting leukemia.