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  • 1 Tajen Pharmaceutical College Department of Food Sanitation Ping-Tong City (Taiwan, Republic of China)
  • 2 National Tsing Hua University Institute of Nuclear Science Hsinchu (Taiwan, Republic of China)
  • 3 Kaohsiung Medical College School of Technology for Medical Sciences Kaohsiung (Taiwan, Republic of China)
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Natural drugs are widely used for diuretic, phlegm elimination and stomach invigoration purposes. Seventy-five of the most common remedies used by Chinese people have been subjected to trace element survey analysis by instrumental neutron activition. Within this large number of different natural products, fourteen trace elements (K, Sc, Cr, Fe, Co, Zn, Br, Rb, Cs, La, Sm, Eu, Au and Th) are commonly detected. Among these elements, Fe had the highes: concentration followed by Zn, and Rb, Sm, Eu and Au were found to have the lowest concentations. Although the three groups of natural drugs exhibit a widely different therapeutic action, the concentration ranges of the fourteen elements were very similar. While this suggests no apparent specific role for the trace elements in the drug function, parallels are drawn between the known drug related functions of Rb, Zn, Br, Fe, Co and K and the levels of elements found in the natural drugs. It is concluded that the various natural drugs also provide human benefits through supplements of essential elements such as Fe, Zn, Cr, Sc, Rb and Co.