Species classification and bioactive ingredients accumulation of BaiJiangCao based on characteristic inorganic elements analysis by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry and multivariate analysis

Pharmacogn Mag. 2015 Oct-Dec;11(44):756-63. doi: 10.4103/0973-1296.165577.


Background: Patrinia scabiosaefolia Fisch and Patrinia villosa (Thunb.) Juss., two species herbs with the same Chinese name "BaiJiangCao", are important ancient herbal medicines widely used for more than 2000 years. The clinical application of two species herb is confused due to the difficult identification.

Objective: The objective was to authenticate the species of BaiJiangCao and analyze the accumulation of bioactive ingredients based on characteristic inorganic elements analysis.

Materials and methods: Content of 32 inorganic elements in BaiJiangCao from different habitats were determined by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), and the characteristic inorganic elements were picked to distinguish the species of the herb by principal component analysis and cluster analysis. Contents of two bioactive ingredients, luteoloside, and oleanolic acid, in the samples, were also analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography method. Relationship between accumulation of bioactive ingredients and content of macroelements in BaiJiangCao was established by statistics.

Results: A 4 macroelements (Na, Mg, K, Fe) in 32 determined inorganic elements were picked for characteristic inorganic elements. Content of Na, Mg, K and Fe showed positive correlations with that of luteoloside, content of Na, Mg showed positive correlations with that of oleanolic acid, but content of K and Fe showed negative correlations with that of oleanolic acid.

Conclusion: It is for the first time to utilize the characteristic inorganic elements as an index to classify the herb species by the method of ICP-MS and multivariate analysis. And it is also the first report to investigate the influence of inorganic elements in herb on the accumulation of bioactive components which could affect the pharmacological efficacy of the herb medicine. And this method could also be utilized in research of corresponding aspects.

Keywords: Cluster analysis; Patrinia scabiosaefolia Fisch; Patrinia villosa (Thunb.) Juss; inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry; principal component analysis.