The Effect of Traditional Treatments on Heavy Metal Toxicity of Armenian Bole
Background: Clay has been used for its nutrition, cosmetic, and antibacterial properties for thousands of years. Its small particle size, large surface area, and high concentration of ions have made it an interesting subject for pharmaceutical research. There have been studies on scavenging foreign substances and antibacterial properties of clay minerals. The main problem with the medical use of these agents, today, is their heavy metal toxicity. This includes arsenic, cadmium, lead, nickel, zinc, and iron. Iranian traditional medicine (ITM) introduces different clays as medicaments. In this system, there are specific processes for these agents, which might reduce the chance of heavy metal toxicity. Armenian bole is a type of clay that has been used to treat a wound. Before in vivo studies of this clay, its safety should be confirmed.
Methods: In this work, we investigated the effect of washing process as mentioned in ITM books regarding the presence of Pb, As, and Cd in 5 samples using atomic absorption spectrometry. We washed each sample (50 g) with 500 cc of distilled water. The samples were filtered and dried at room temperature for 24 hours.
Results: In all studied samples, the amount of Pb and Cd was reduced after the ITM washing process. The amount of As was reduced in 3 samples and increased in 2 other samples.
Conclusion: In ITM books, there are general considerations for the use of medicinal clay. These agents should not be used before special treatments such as the washing process. In this study, we observed the effect of washing process on reducing the amount of heavy metals in Armenian bole samples. In two samples, washing caused an increase in the amount of As. As these heavy metals sediment according to their density in different layers, the sample layer on which the spectrometry is performed could have an effect on the results.