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Molecules 2016, 21(9), 1159; doi:10.3390/molecules21091159

Analysis of Sheng-Mai-San, a Ginseng-Containing Multiple Components Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry and Physical Examination by Electron and Light Microscopies

Institute of Traditional Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan
Graduate Institute of Acupuncture Science, China Medical University, Taichung 404, Taiwan
School of Pharmacy, College of Pharmacy, Kaohsiung Medical University, Kaohsiung 807, Taiwan
Department of Chemical Engineering, National United University, Miaoli 36063, Taiwan
Department of Education and Research, Taipei City Hospital, Taipei 103, Taiwan
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Derek J. McPhee
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 15 August 2016 / Accepted: 25 August 2016 / Published: 1 September 2016
(This article belongs to the Section Natural Products)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [4654 KB, uploaded 1 September 2016]   |  


Sheng-Mai-San is a multi-component traditional Chinese herbal preparation. Due to the fact granulated additives, such as starch, carboxymethyl cellulose, lactose and raw herbal powder may alter the content of the bioactive markers in the herbal products, a developed ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) method was used to measure the herbal biomarkers of ginsenoside Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rg1, Rh1, compound K, ophiopogonin D and schizandrin from the Sheng-Mai-San herbal formulation. Besides, scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to observe the morphology of the herbal granular powders. Light microscopy with Congo red and iodine-KI reagent staining was used to identify the cellulose fiber and cornstarch added to pharmaceutical herbal products. The swelling power (SP), water solubility index (WSI), and crude fiber analysis were used to determine the contents of cellulose fiber and cornstarch in pharmaceutical herbal products. In this study, we developed a novel skill to assess the quantification of appended cornstarch in pharmaceutical herbal products using Aperio ImageScope software. Compared with the traditional cornstarch analysis, our analysis method is a rapid, simple and conversion process which could be applied to detect the percentage of added cornstarch in unknown powder products. The various range of the herbal content for the five pharmaceutical manufacturers varied by up to several hundreds-fold. The physical examination reveals that the morphology of the herbal pharmaceutical products is rough and irregular with sharp layers. This study provides a reference standard operating procedure guide for the quality control of the Chinese herbal pharmaceutical products of Sheng-Mai-San. View Full-Text
Keywords: Sheng-Mai-San; mass spectrometry; ginsenoside; pharmaceutical herbal products Sheng-Mai-San; mass spectrometry; ginsenoside; pharmaceutical herbal products

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Cheng, Y.-Y.; Tsai, T.-H. Analysis of Sheng-Mai-San, a Ginseng-Containing Multiple Components Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine Using Liquid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry and Physical Examination by Electron and Light Microscopies. Molecules 2016, 21, 1159.

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