Herbal medicine is a major component of complementary and alternative medicine, contributing significantly to the health of many people and communities. Quality control of herbal medicine is crucial to ensure that it is safe and sound for use. Here, we investigated a comprehensive quality evaluation system for a classic herbal medicine, Danggui Buxue Formula, by applying genetic-based and analytical chemistry approaches to authenticate and evaluate the quality of its samples. For authenticity, we successfully applied two novel technologies, third-generation sequencing and PCR-DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis), to analyze the ingredient composition of the tested samples. For quality evaluation, we used high performance liquid chromatography assays to determine the content of chemical markers to help estimate the dosage relationship between its two raw materials, plant roots of Huangqi and Danggui. A series of surveys were then conducted against several exogenous contaminations, aiming to further access the efficacy and safety of the samples. In conclusion, the quality evaluation system demonstrated here can potentially address the authenticity, quality, and safety of herbal medicines, thus providing novel insight for enhancing their overall quality control. Highlight: We established a comprehensive quality evaluation system for herbal medicine, by combining two genetic-based approaches third-generation sequencing and DGGE (denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis) with analytical chemistry approaches to achieve the authentication and quality connotation of the samples.
Journal: Frontiers in plant science