Analysis of aristolochic acid in nine sources of Xixin, a traditional Chinese medicine, by liquid chromatography/atmospheric pressure chemical ionization/tandem mass spectrometry

J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2003 Nov 24;33(4):831-7. doi: 10.1016/s0731-7085(03)00310-8.


Aristolochic acid I (AA-I), which is a known nephrotoxin, is found in a commonly used Chinese medicine, Xixin, that originates from nine Asarum species (Aristolochiaceae) found in China. A method has been developed using reversed-phase liquid chromatography coupled with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization (APCI) tandem mass spectrometry under the positive ion detection mode [LC/(+)APCI/MS/MS] to determine the amount of AA-I in Xixin. The limit of detection of AA-I, estimated by monitoring with LC/MS/MS, was at the low microg/l level. By applying this method to methanol extracts of nine Asarum species, the concentrations of AA-I were found to range from 3.3 ng/mg (Asarum sieboldii) to 3376.9 ng/mg (Asarum crispulatum).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aristolochic Acids / analysis*
  • Aristolochic Acids / chemistry
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / analysis*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional / methods
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*


  • Aristolochic Acids
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • aristolochic acid I