Spectrophotometric determination of Rauwolfia alkaloids: estimation of reserpine in pharmaceuticals

Anal Sci. 2004 Mar;20(3):571-3. doi: 10.2116/analsci.20.571.


A simple, sensitive and economically viable spectrophotometric method for the determination of some Rauwolfia alkaloids (ajmaline, ajmalicine, reserpine and yohimbine-HCl) has been developed. The method involves the oxidation of Rauwolfia alkaloids by iron(III) and subsequent complexation of iron(II) with 1,10-phenanthroline, forming a red-colored complex having the maximum absorbance at 510 nm. The method is applied to the determination of reserpine in tablets of pharmaceutical formulations. The common excipients do not interfere with the proposed method. A statistical comparison of these results with those of a reported method shows good agreement and indicates no significant difference in the precision.