Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines (中国天然药物) 2013/11:6 PP.596-607
Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) are in great demand all over the world, especially in the developing world, for primary health care due to their superior merits such as low cost, minimal side effects, better cultural acceptability, and compatibility with humans. However, Chinese medicines consist of several herbs which may contain tens, hundreds, or even thousands of constituents. How these constituents interact with each other, and what the special active ones are, may be the biggest bottleneck for the modernization and globalization of TCMs. Valid methods to evaluate the quality of TCMs are therefore essential and should be promoted and be developed further through advanced separation and chromatography techniques. This paper reviews the strategies used to control the quality of TCMs in a progressive perspective, from selecting single or several ingredients as the evaluation marker, to using different kinds of chromatography fingerprint methods. In summary, the analysis and quality control of TCMs are developing in a more effective and comprehensive manner to better address the inherent holistic nature of TCMs.
Funds：National Key Technology Research and Development Program of China (No. 2011BAI05B02) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21105106)