Simultaneous determination of bioactive constituents in Danggui Buxue Tang for quality control by HPLC coupled with a diode array detector, an evaporative light scattering detector and mass spectrometry.


Danggui Buxue Tang (DBT), a classical traditional Chinese formula comprising Radix Angelicae Sinensis (RAS) and Radix Astragali (RA), has been widely used to treat menopausal irregularity in Chinese women for nearly 800 years. In this study, a comprehensive analytical method of simultaneously determining the main types of bioactive constituents, eighteen in all from the formula, involving flavonoids, saponins, organic acid and some volatile compounds, was developed. This method was based on HPLC coupled to a diode array and evaporative light scattering detectors (HPLC-DAD-ELSD) on a common reverse-phase C(18) column. Liquid chromatography coupled with on-line electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS) was also used to further validate and analyze the constituents. It was found that 0.3% aqueous formic acid and acetonitrile was the optimum mobile phase for gradient elution. This method, which showed good precision and accuracy, was successfully used to quantify the bioactive constituents in six products. As a result, the validated HPLC method, together with the LC-ESI-MS analysis, provided a new basis for assessing the quality of traditional Chinese medicinal compound preparations (TCMCPs) consisting of many bioactive components.

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