Herbal medicines have been used through much of human history and continue to be used as alternative medicines in many parts of the world. In the European Union, herbal medicines are regulated under the European Directive on Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products with certain herbs such as cannabis and coca banned in most countries.
Hundreds of active compounds derived from plants are widely used in modern medicine but a significant number of active substances remain within the domain of alternative medicine. To date, there have been few studies on the presence of herbal APIs in the environment or the likely impacts of the most abundant groups.
This project will undertake a review of the use of traditional medicines in the UK and develop methods to determine their occurrence in domestic wastewater treatment plants. The potential biological implications of the most ubiquitous and stable substances detected will be assessed.