Selection and authentication of botanical materials for the development of analytical methods

Anal Bioanal Chem. 2013 May;405(13):4419-28. doi: 10.1007/s00216-012-6595-1. Epub 2012 Dec 9.


Herbal products, for example botanical dietary supplements, are widely used. Analytical methods are needed to ensure that botanical ingredients used in commercial products are correctly identified and that research materials are of adequate quality and are sufficiently characterized to enable research to be interpreted and replicated. Adulteration of botanical material in commerce is common for some species. The development of analytical methods for specific botanicals, and accurate reporting of research results, depend critically on correct identification of test materials. Conscious efforts must therefore be made to ensure that the botanical identity of test materials is rigorously confirmed and documented through preservation of vouchers, and that their geographic origin and handling are appropriate. Use of material with an associated herbarium voucher that can be botanically identified is always ideal. Indirect methods of authenticating bulk material in commerce, for example use of organoleptic, anatomical, chemical, or molecular characteristics, are not always acceptable for the chemist's purposes. Familiarity with botanical and pharmacognostic literature is necessary to determine what potential adulterants exist and how they may be distinguished.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chemistry Techniques, Analytical / standards*
  • Chimera / genetics
  • Dietary Supplements / analysis*
  • Dietary Supplements / standards
  • Food Contamination / prevention & control
  • Genetic Speciation
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Plant Preparations / analysis*
  • Plant Preparations / standards
  • Plants, Medicinal / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal / classification
  • Plants, Medicinal / genetics
  • Quality Control
  • Specimen Handling / standards
  • Terminology as Topic


  • Plant Preparations