Herbal diet pills – analyzed with the Benchtop-NMR

Achieving a desired weight isn’t always easy. Some people refer to diet pills for help. And choose purely herbal pills, because they don’t want to harm themselves.

Together with one of our French customers, our partner Oxford Instruments has analyzed the true content of these so-called herbal pills. Our customer wanted quick and easy measurements with unambiguous results. So they used the benchtop NMR system Pulsar, because NMR spectroscopy provides unmistakable information on the contained substances. 

The analyses were performed on “Fruta Planta Grape”, “St. Nirvana” and “Xiushentang” pills. All three are supposed to be purely herbal according to the declaration on their packaging. However, the NMR measurement results show something else. Fruta Planta Grape for example also contained both sibutramine, which is used as appetite suppressant in obesity, and phenolphtalein, which is widely known as pH-indicator and was used as laxative for more than a hundred years, before it was discovered that it might cause cancer. Phenolphtalein was also detected in the Xiushentang pills, and sibutramine was found in St. Nirvana.

The easy NMR measurements performed with Pulsar have proven in a blink of an eye that these herbal diet pills contain more than they should.

More about NMR spectrographs


Dr. Andreas Bergner
Dr. Andreas Bergner


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Dr. Andreas BergnerProduct Manager - Electron microscopy & nanotechnology
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