Some Sudanese medicinal plants show potential in removing heavy metals from water

A Sudanese study investigated the ability of three local and common medicinal plants to naturally remove heavy metals from water. The ethanolic extracts of moringa (Moringa oleifera), bulrush (Typha latifolia) and Egyptian lemongrass (Cymbopogon proximus) were able to absorb cadmium, chromium, lead, and zinc contaminants in water samples.

The study was supported by the Omdurman Islamic University. Its findings were published in Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences.

  • Heavy metals have biotoxic effects on humans. Their levels have been increasing in water sources throughout the world, especially in less developed countries like Sudan.
  • Moringa, bulrush, and Egyptian lemongrass have traditionally been used for purifying water so that it is fit for drinking. All three plants are known to have phytochemicals that support human health.
  • Ethanol extracts were taken from all three plants and used to treat water with one of four common heavy metals: cadmium, chromium, lead, and zinc.
  • Extracts of all three plants succeeded in absorbing cadmium, chromium, and zinc from the water samples.
  • The bulrush and lemongrass extracts were able to absorb the lead. However, the moringa extract failed to absorb the heavy metal.

Based on their potency in removing heavy metals, the researchers recommended further study to be conducted on moringa, bulrush, and Egyptian lemongrass, so that the phytochemicals responsible for absorbing the heavy metals could be identified and explored for use as natural water detoxifiers.

If you are interested in the full study, you can read it at this link.

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Journal reference

Ghada M., Najla A. I., Sajad M. H., Fida A.,  Eltohami M. S, Abdurahman H. N, Elhassan H. E., and  Elsaman T. EFFICACY OF SOME SUDANESE MEDICINAL PLANTS EXTRACTS TO REMOVE HEAVY METALS FROM WATER. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences. 26 January 2017; 11(3):51–55.

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