Identification and Detection of Undeclared Herbal Slimming Adulterants

Mohammad Kamil


The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is advising consumers to stop using multiple
weight-loss products that contain the undeclared drug ingredients e.g. sibutramine,
which was removed from the market in 2010 for safety reasons and may present
significant risks for those with coronary artery disease and other heart issues.
Sibutramine and similar undeclared ingredients in herbal medicines are a real challenge
for the public health and safety. In recent years, the need for quality assurance tools to
ensure the identity, purity, and quality of botanical material has risen dramatically.
HPTLC has emerged as a versatile, high throughput, and cost-effective technology, that is
uniquely suited to meet these requirements. Most separation techniques do not allow
parallel analysis of numerous samples at the same time and they often face problems in
separating complex mixtures of substances. However, visual evaluation of HPTLC plates
allows for convenient comparison of many samples side by side, where similarities and
differences can clearly be seen. The quality of raw materials is rapidly and easily
determined by HPTLC. For the identification of herbal drugs and other naturally derived
materials standardized HPTLC is the method of choice and recommended by
pharmacopoeias worldwide, furthermore adulterated samples are reliably identified.
The main objective of the present study is to check pharmaceutical analogue
adulteration of nonprescription and prescription slimming products in the laboratory
using chromatographic techniques and to discuss its side effects in the interest of
consumers and public health safety. Since intentional adulteration of natural
herbalmedicines with unknown synthetic drugs or chemicals is a common and
dangerous phenomenon of alternative medicine, it is important to modify and validate
analytical tools to monitor and evaluate these herbal drugs.


Food and Drug Administration, Herbal medicine, Herbal slimming adulterants, HPTLC, Natural herbalmedicines, Phenolphthalein, Rimonabant, Sibutramine hydrochloride, Yohimbine

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