Almost 100 samples of medicinal, aromatic and spice plants from different regions in Austria were analysed for their Cd, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, and Zn content. The levels of essential trace elements were within the usual range for plant material and showed a dependence upon the growing site. High nickel contents were found in samples from the northern granite gneiss tableland of Austria. None of the growing sites investigated appeared to be excessively contaminated with the toxic heavy metals lead and cadmium. Most of the specimens contained less than 2 ppm lead and less than 0,2 ppm cadmium. Samples with more than 5 ppm Pb are rare and restricted to urban areas. Higher cadmium values appeared to be typical for some particular species, especially St. John's wort and poppy seeds.