Document Type : CASE STUDY


1 Graduate School of Mathematics and Applied Sciences, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh 23111, Indonesia

2 Gastroenterohepatology Division, Internal Medicine Department, School of Medicine, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Dr. Zainoel Abidin Teaching Hospital, Banda Aceh 23111, Indonesia

3 Pharmacology Department, School of Medicine, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh 23111, Indonesia

4 Nephrology and Hypertension Division, Internal Medicine Department, School of Medicine, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Dr. Zainoel Abidin Teaching Hospital, Banda Aceh 23111, Indonesia

5 Department of Chemistry, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh 23111, Indonesia

6 Department of Pharmacy, STIKes Assyifa Aceh, Banda Aceh 23242, Indonesia

7 Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences, Universitas Syiah Kuala, Banda Aceh 23111, Indonesia


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Medicinal plants growing in geothermal areas have been reported to possess relatively high concentrations of bioactive secondary metabolites, which have been attributed to the adaptive heat stress response. Nonetheless, the exploitation of their medicinal benefits is limited by potentially life-threatening concentrations of heavy metals. Chromolaena odorata Linn, also called seurapoh, is a well-known medicinal plant that can absorb and accumulate heavy metals from the soil. This present study aimed to investigate the contents of mercury, lead, cadmium, and arsenic in the ethanolic extract of Chromolaena odorata Linn leaves collected from a geothermal area in Aceh Province, Indonesia.
METHODS: Three hot springs, namely Ie-Suum, Ie-Jue, and Ie-Brouk, located in the same geothermal area, Seulawah Agam, were selected as the sampling points, and three samples of Chromolaena odorata were collected at each point. Extraction was carried out by means of maceration employing ethanol solvent. The heavy metal contents of each extract were determined using priorly validated atomic absorption spectrometry and graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry. The maximum thresholds of each heavy metal from the Indonesian Agency for Drug and Food Control were adopted during data interpretation.
FINDINGS: The results revealed the presence of trace levels of arsenic (0.0482 ± 0.004 – 0.0639 ± 0.007 milligram per kilogram) and lead (0.0219 ± 0.004 – 0.0672 ± 0.006 milligram per kilogram), which did not exceed Indonesian maximum safety thresholds (≤5 and ≤10 milligram per kilogram, respectively). Mercury in all samples was not observable (limit of detection = 0.018 milligram per liter). Cadmium was observed in almost all samples with a concentration range of 0.0219 ± 0.005–1.1472 ± 0.006 milligram per kilogram, which exceeded the maximum threshold (0.3 milligram per liter).
CONCLUSION: Heavy metal contamination in the ethanolic extract of geothermal Chromolaena odorata leaves has been attributed to volcanic activities. Among the heavy metals of concern, cadmium was the only one with a concentration exceeding the safety limit. The presence of cadmium in the extract at a high concentration could cause its translocation to the human body, eventually leading to multiple organ damage. Therefore, the extract of Chromolaena odorata leaves collected from a geothermal area should be consumed with caution for possible cadmium intoxication.

Graphical Abstract

Heavy metals contamination in geothermal medicinal plant extract; Chromolaena odorata Linn


  • The presence of Hg was not detected in all samples (LoD=0.018 mg/L);
  • As contamination was only found in samples collected from Ie-Jue (0482 ± 0.004 – 0.0639 ± 0.007 mg/kg);
  • Pb contamination was detected in all samples with concentrations ranged from 0.0219 ± 0.004 mg/kg (Ie-Suum) to 0.0672 ± 0.006 mg/kg (Ie-Brouk);
  • Cd contamination was present in samples collected from Ie-Brouk, Ie-Jue, and Ie-Suum with concentrations exceeding the maximum threshold (≤3 mg/kg) exposing the risk of intoxication.


Main Subjects


©2023 The author(s). This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit:


GJESM Publisher remains neutral concerning jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.


Google Scholar Scopus Web of Science PlumX Metrics Altmetrics Mendeley |


GJESM Publisher

Letters to Editor

GJESM Journal welcomes letters to the editor for the post-publication discussions and corrections which allows debate post publication on its site, through the Letters to Editor. Letters pertaining to manuscript published in GJESM should be sent to the editorial office of GJESM within three months of either online publication or before printed publication, except for critiques of original research. Following points are to be considering before sending the letters (comments) to the editor.

[1] Letters that include statements of statistics, facts, research, or theories should include appropriate references, although more than three are discouraged.
[2] Letters that are personal attacks on an author rather than thoughtful criticism of the author’s ideas will not be considered for publication.
[3] Letters can be no more than 300 words in length.
[4] Letter writers should include a statement at the beginning of the letter stating that it is being submitted either for publication or not.
[5] Anonymous letters will not be considered.
[6] Letter writers must include their city and state of residence or work.
[7] Letters will be edited for clarity and length.