Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) 2017 12 1522(12) pii E2242
Commercial pharmaceutical herbal products have enabled people to take traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in a convenient and accessible form. However, the quantity and quality should be additionally inspected. To address the issue, a combination of chemical and physical inspection methods were developed to evaluate the amount of an herbal formula, Xiang-Sha-Liu-Jun-Zi-Tang (XSLJZT), in clinical TCM practice.
A high-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) method with electrospray ionization was developed to measure the herbal biomarkers of guanosine, atractylenolide III, glycyrrhizic acid, dehydrocostus lactone, hesperidin, and oleanolic acid from XSLJZT. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) photographs and light microscopy photographs with Congo red and iodine-KI staining were used to identify the cellulose fibers and starch content. Furthermore, solubility analysis, swelling power test, and crude fiber analysis were contributed to measure the starch additive in pharmaceutical products.
The results demonstrated large variations in the chemical components of different pharmaceutical brands. The SEM photographs revealed that the starch was oval, smooth, and granular, and that the raw herbal powder appears stripy, stretched, and filiform. The stained light microscopy photographs of all of the pharmaceutical products showed added starch and raw herbal powder as extenders.
The developed chemical and physical methods provide a standard operating procedure for the quantity control of the herbal pharmaceutical products of XSLJZT.