Test for Metallic Salts

Hey, been out of the real chemistry for a long time so pardon my beginner question:
I am importing natural herbs and other ingredients from overseas. The claim ius tht they are "organic" and "all-natural" ie 100% pure. 
What chemical tests can I do on the ingredients (indigo leaf powder for hair, henna powder) to ensure that 
1) no metallic salts are added
2) they are truly organic

The place has certifications but I want to be SURE.

Comments

  • As far as 2) goes, there is no test for "organic". The only thing you can do is trust suppliers documentation.
  • Indian Standard IS 7159:1984 lists a number of test methods for henna powder, including testing for adulterants and extraneous sand - it may very well be helpful for your purposes

    flame atomic absorption spectrocopy is most rigorous way to test for metals, but there are many qualitative methods too; for instance, certain dyes (methylthymol blue, xylenol orange, eriochrome black T) change colour in the presence of metal ions
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • What are you using the natural herbs for?  What benefit are they providing?

    If there is a quantifiable benefit, you could conduct a test to see if they meet your requirements.  If there isn't a quantifiable test...well that's probably a problem.
  • edited March 8
    Thanks Bill_Toge fir the info. I guess the ISB (insian stndards bureau has all that info for exporters..)

    Perry, I am using it for an all natural hair colour. 

    Here's the thing:
    I used that test that they do in salons, the "compatibility test" ammonia + 40volume hydrogen peroxide mixed in henna powder and waited for a reaction (it is supposed to remain inert if no metallic salts are present) I bought a sample of EVERY local providers' natural organic henna powder and they ALL reacted.,.. so I grew suspicious of the test... 

    Any ideas?

    Thanks
  • @Khadijah the standard is available to anyone who pays for it, e.g. here

    regarding the 'compatibility test': the mixture will become coloured if there are oxidative dye precursors (e.g. PPD, resorcinol) present

    in my experience these are the most common additives/adulterants in 'natural' henna powder, and can be detected by the thin-layer chromatography method described in the standard

    if you can get a sample of pure lawsone (the active colourant in henna; systematic name 2-hydroxy-1,4-naphthoquinone, CAS # 83-72-7), make a 1% solution of it in water and test that solution under the same conditions, you'll know for sure whether or not the 'compatibility test' is valid
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • I poured a teaspoon of the henna powder into the ammonia + 40volume hydrogen peroxide mix and got a highly exothermic reaction... for every sample for evey single natural brand i tried... don't know what to make of tht.

    as for HPLC, back in the day i ued to work in a chromatog lab on campus so I coulda run samples there but now I cant find a place that wants to charge me less thn $1000 o=per test. Can't exactly afford that right now.,.. Is there way to get HPLC testing for less?

  • I don't understand why you should get an exothermic reaction from ground-up dried plant leaves. It's cellulose, right? Try the same experiment with some other type of ground dried plant leaves. Tea, for instance. Do you still get a reaction?
    Design of anti-aging creams, gels, and serums; shampoos; and therapeutic cosmetics. In-house label and box design capability.
  • edited March 11
    you don't need to use HPLC; if you've got a mercury-vapour UV lamp, any organic adulterants will be visible on a thin-layer chromatography plate

    if you have pure henna, the only substances visible on the plate should be lawsone (Rf = 0.4) and chlorophyll (coincident with the solvent front)
    UK based formulation chemist. Strongest subjects: hair styling, hair bleaches, hair dyes (oxidative and non-oxidative) I know some stuff about: EU regulations, emulsions (O/W and W/O), toothpaste, mouthwash, shampoos, other toiletries
  • I don't understand why you should get an exothermic reaction from ground-up dried plant leaves. It's cellulose, right? Try the same experiment with some other type of ground dried plant leaves. Tea, for instance. Do you still get a reaction? I know! and I got the test from EVERY single brand. Ok I will try soe tea and maybe some cinnamon bark. What is the exothermic reaction indicating?
  • @Bill_Toge
    I obtained a copy of the Indian Standard  IS 7159:1984--thank-you for the suggestion! I am  having difficulty obtaining specific results reports from the Bureau for batches tested from suppliers.
    Any idea who else would hold copies of the batch test reports done under  IS 7159:1984
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