Determination of hydrastine and berberine in goldenseal raw materials, extracts, and dietary supplements by high-performance liquid chromatography with UV: collaborative study

J AOAC Int. Jul-Aug 2008;91(4):694-701.


A multilaboratory collaborative study was conducted on a high-performance liquid chromatographic (HPLC) method utilizing UV detection, previously validated using AOAC single-laboratory validation guidelines for determination of hydrastine and berberine in goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) raw materials, extracts, and dietary supplements at levels ranging from 0.4 to 6% (w/w). Nine collaborating laboratories determined the hydrastine and berberine content in 8 blind samples. Sample materials included powdered botanical raw materials, whole root material, and 4 finished product dietary supplements containing either goldenseal powdered root material or extract. The materials were extracted with an acidified water and acetonitrile solution. HPLC analyses of the extracts were performed on a C18 column using UV detection at 230 nm. Results for powdered root material and capsule products ranged from about 0.2% (w/w) for each alkaloid to about 4% (w/w) for each alkaloid. Liquid tincture results were approximately 4000-5000 microg/mL for each alkaloid. Reproducibility relative standard deviations (RSDR) for hydrastine ranged from 2.68 to 6.65%, with HorRat values ranging from 0.77 to 1.89. RSDR for berberine ranged from 5.66 to 7.68%, with HorRat values ranging from 1.32 to 2.12. All finished products containing goldenseal extract yielded HorRat values <2.0. Based on these results, the method is recommended for Official First Action for determination of hydrastine and berberine in goldenseal raw materials and dietary supplement finished products containing powdered goldenseal and goldenseal extract.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzylisoquinolines / analysis*
  • Berberine / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Hydrastis / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / analysis
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Reference Standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Spectrophotometry, Ultraviolet


  • Benzylisoquinolines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Berberine
  • hydrastine