Single-step purification of dracorhodin from dragon's blood resin of Daemonorops draco using high-speed counter-current chromatography combined with pH modulation

J Sep Sci. 2009 Dec;32(23-24):4040-7. doi: 10.1002/jssc.200900392.


Dracorhodin is a major constituent found in "Dragon's blood" resin of Daemonorops draco Willd. Blume. This natural flavylium compound is a potent pharmaceutical substance due to its biological and pharmacological activities such as antimicrobial, antiviral, antitumor and cytotoxic activity. An effective high-speed counter-current chromatography method was successfully established for the isolation and purification of dracorhodin directly from extract of D. draco by using a two-phase solvent system composed of n-hexane/ethyl acetate/methanol/water (2:3:2:3 v/v). Under the optimal conditions, 6.6 mg dracorhodin was obtained from 100 mg crude resin. The isolated fraction of counter-current chromatography was determined by HPLC, NMR, UV/visible and ESI/MS combined with pH modulation, since dracorhodin is unstable in solution which exists in different forms depending on pH values. The data were compared with those of the reference substance, and the literatures as well. The purity of dracorhodin was over 98% based on the HPLC result.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arecaceae / chemistry*
  • Benzopyrans / isolation & purification*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Countercurrent Distribution / methods*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry
  • Resins, Plant / chemistry
  • Solvents
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Spectrophotometry


  • Benzopyrans
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Resins, Plant
  • Solvents
  • dracorhodin