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Chemical Assessment of Roots of Panax notoginseng in China: Regional and Seasonal Variations in Its Active Constituents

Dong, Tina T.X., Cui, Xiu M., Song, Zong H., Zhao, Kui J., Ji, Zhao N., Lo, Chun K., Tsim, Karl W.K.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2003 v.51 no.16 pp. 4617-4623
Oriental traditional medicine, Panax notoginseng, flavonoids, high performance liquid chromatography, markets, quality control, roots, seasonal variation, China
Root of Panax notoginseng (Radix Notoginseng, Sanqi) is a well-known traditional Chinese medicine and is mainly cultivated in Wenshan of Yunnan, China. The active constituents include saponin, dencichine, flavonoid, and polysaccharide; however, the levels of these components vary in different geographical regions of growth and also show a seasonal variation. By using high-performance liquid chromatography and spectrophotometry, the contents of notoginsenoside R1, ginsenoside Rg1, Rb1, Rd, dencichine, flavonoid, and polysaccharide were determined and compared with Radix Notoginseng collected from different regions of growth in China, as well as from different seasons of harvest and market grades. Using the contents of these active constituents as markers, the best quality of Radix Notoginseng is found in the southwestern parts of Wenshan, and the best season for the harvest is September to October. In addition, the unseeded plants produced a better quality of Radix Notoginseng. The current results provide useful information for the quality control of Radix Notoginseng and its further development in establishing the good agriculture practice standard of P. notoginseng in China.