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J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Apr;49(4):1702-6.

Echinacea standardization: analytical methods for phenolic compounds and typical levels in medicinal species.

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  • 1Crop & Food Research, Plant Extracts Research Unit, Chemistry Department, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.


A proposed standard extraction and HPLC analysis method has been used to measure typical levels of various phenolic compounds in the medicinally used Echinacea species. Chicoric acid was the main phenolic in E. purpurea roots (mean 2.27% summer, 1.68% autumn) and tops (2.02% summer, 0.52% autumn), and echinacoside was the main phenolic in E. angustifolia (1.04%) and E. pallida roots (0.34%). Caftaric acid was the other main phenolic compound in E. purpurea roots (0.40% summer, 0.35% autumn) and tops (0.82% summer, 0.18% autumn), and cynarin was a characteristic component of E. angustifolia roots (0.12%). Enzymatic browning during extraction could reduce the measured levels of phenolic compounds by >50%. Colorimetric analyses for total phenolics correlated well with the HPLC results for E. purpurea and E. angustifolia, but the colorimetric method gave higher values.

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