The Prospect of Application of Extractive Reference Substance of Chinese Herbal Medicines


The emerging development of Extractive Reference Substance (ERS) is a methodology that meets the needs for quality control for Chinese Herbal Medicines (CHM) and respects the holistic viewpoint of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and its clinical use of multiple ingredients with synergistic effects. The convention of using just a selected few Chemical Reference Substances (CRS) cannot adequately assess the quality of intact CHM. A validated chemical spectrum of an ERS provides the global characteristics in order to more specifically identify and assess targeted CHM. This paper describes the fundamental concepts, potential significance, and basic criteria of ERS, along with methods of preparation and calibration. Given the diversity of CHM, the various problems that will occur in establishing the proper process of ERS will need to be solved in a step by step manner. The ERSs of Ziziphi spinosae semen and ERS of Fritillaria thunbergii bulbus are given as examples of the development of ERS and demonstrate why we are optimistic about the utility of this approach.

Share and Cite:

P. Xie, S. Ma, P. Tu, Z. Wang, E. Stoeger and D. Bensky, "The Prospect of Application of Extractive Reference Substance of Chinese Herbal Medicines," Chinese Medicine, Vol. 4 No. 4, 2013, pp. 125-136. doi: 10.4236/cm.2013.44016.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] S. L. Li, Q. B. Han, C. F. Qiao, J. Z. Song, C. L. Cheng and H. X. Xu, “Chemical Markers for the Quality Control of Herbal Medicines: An Overview,” Chinese Medicine, Vol. 3, No. 7, 2008, pp. 1-16.
[2] A. Y. Leung, “Traditionand Science-Based Quality Control of Chinese Medicines—Introducing the PhytoTrue System,” Journal of AOAC International, Vol. 93, No. 5, 2010, pp. 1355-1366.
[3] P.-S. Xie and A. Y. Leung, “Understanding the Traditional Aspect of Chinese Medicine in Order to Achieve Meaningful Quality Control of Chinese Materia Medica,” Journal of Chromatography A, Vol. 1216, No. 11, 2009, pp. 1933-1940.
[4] P. S. Xie, “The Basic Requirement for Modernization of Chinese Herbal Medicine, Ping-Chung Leung , Annals of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Current Review of Chinese Medicine—Quality Control of Herbs and Herbal Material, 2,” Chapter 1, 2006, pp. 1-10.
[5] S. S. Chitlange, “Chromatographic Fingerprint Analysis for Herbal Medicines: A Quality Control Tool,”, 2008.
[6] S. L. Li, Y. X. Wang, L. H. Sheng and L. Yi, “Quality Evaluation of Radix Astragali through a Simultaneous Determination of Six Major Active Isoflavonoids and Four Main Saponins by High-Performance Liquid Chromatography Coupled with Diode Array and Evaporative Light Scattering Detectors,” JCA, Vol. 1134, No. 1-2, 2006, pp. 162-169.
[7] X. J. Chen, H. Ji, Q. W. Zhang, P. F. Tu, Y. T. Wang, B. L. Guo and S. P. Li, “A Rapid Method for Simultaneous Determination of 15 Flavonoids in Epimedium Using Pressurized Liquid Extraction and Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography,” JPBA, Vol. 46, No. 2, 2008, pp. 226-235.
[8] C. L. Fan, J. W. Deng, Y. Y. Yang, J. S. Liu, Y. Wang, X. Q. Zhang, K. C. Fai, Q. W. Zhang and W. C. Ye, “MultiIngredients Determination and Fingerprint Analysis of Leaves From Ilex Latifolia Using Ultra-Performance Liquid Chromatography Coupled with Quadrapole Time-of -Flight Mass Sepctrometry,” JPBA, Vol. 84, 2013, pp. 20-29.
[9] S. P. Li, C. M. Lai, Y. X. Gong, K. K. W. Kan, T. T. X. Dong, K. W. K. Tsim and Y. T. Wang, “Simultaneous Determination of Ergosterol, Nucleosides and Their Bases from Natural and Cultured Cordyceps by Pressurised Liquid Extraction and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography,” JCA, Vol. 1036, No. 2, 2004, pp. 239-243.
[10] P. Yu, S. Lei, H. Y. Jing and S. C. Ma, “Discussion on Application and Technical Requirements of Substitute Refeemce Substance Method for Simultaneous Determination of Multi-Components in Traditional Chinese Medicine,” Chin. J. Pharm. Anal, Vol. 33, No. 1, 2013, pp. 169-177.
[11] J. S. Zhang and C. H. Lu, “Philisophical Origins of Source of Traditional Medicine’s Holism and Western Medicine’s Reductionism,” Journal of Anhui Traditioanal Chinese Medicine College (in Chinese), Vol. 18, No. 1, 1999, pp. 1-3.
[12] X. D. Tang and W. W. Wang, “TCM Research: Cultural Collision and System Biology,” World Science and Technology/Modernization of Traditionl Chinese Medicine and Materia Medica (in Chinese), Vol. 9, No. 1, 2007, pp. 119-122.
[13] P. S. Xie, Y.-Z. Yan, B.-L. Guo, C. W. K. Lam, S. H. Chui and Q.-X. Yu, “Chemical Pattern-Aided Classification to Simplify the Intricacy of Morphological Taxonomy of Epimedium Species Using Chromatographic Fingerprinting,” Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2010, pp. 452-460.
[14] R.-T. Tian, P.-S. Xie and H.-P. Liu, “Evaluation of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine: Chaihu (Bupleuri radix) by Both High-Performance Liquid Chromatographic and High-Performance Thinlayer Chromatographic Fingerprint and Chemometic Analysis,” Journal of Chromatography A, Vol. 1216, No. 11, 2009, pp. 2150-2155.
[15] P. S. Xie and S. P. Li, “Chapter 2: Back to the Future in Quality Control of Chinese Herbal Medicines/Quality Control: Developments, Methods and Applications,” Nova Science Publishing Co. Ltd., 2013, pp. 47-68.
[16] M. Schwarz, B. Klier and H. Sievers, “Herbal Reference Standards,” Planta Medica, No. 75, 2009, pp. 689-703.
[17] K. Helliwell, “Herbal reference Standards (Reader’s Tribute),” Pharmeuropa, Vol. 18, No. 2, 2006, pp. 235-238.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.