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  • 1 Indian Institute of Technology Department of Chemistry Roorkee 247 667 India
  • | 2 Bhabha Atomic Research Centre Radiochemistry Division Mumbai 400085 India
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Abstract  

Trikatu, an Ayurvedic formulation of three dried powder spices, ginger, black pepper and pipali in equal proportion is widely used to promote digestion, assimilation and bioavailibility of food. It works synergistically, and hence, is more effective than an equal amount of any of its three ingredients taken separately. Five different brands and its three constituents were analyzed for 31 elements by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) using 5-minute and 6-hour thermal neutron irradiation followed by high-resolution γ-ray spectrometry. Heavy toxic metals Cd, Ni and Pb determined by atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) were found below permissible limits. Most elements in different brands vary in a narrow range. Ginger is particularly enriched in Ca, Fe, Mg and Mn whereas black pepper is enriched in Cr, Se, P and Zn. Cu/Zn shows linear relationship (r = 0.92) with Cu whereas Fe and Mn exhibit inverse correlation (r = −0.89) in different brands. Hydro distillation of pipali yielded an essential oil whereby 10 organic constituents were identified by GC-MS. Also barbituric and tannic acids were isolated from the aqueous methanolic extract of pipali.