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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Apr 23;51(9):2576-83.

Molecular genetic and chemical assessment of radix Angelica (Danggui) in China.

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  • 1Department of Biology, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay Road, Hong Kong, China.


The roots of Angelica sinensis (Danggui), a traditional Chinese medicine, have been used for invigorating blood circulation for over 2000 years in China. Three common species of Angelica roots are found in Asia: A. sinensis from China, A. acutiloba from Japan, and A. gigas from Korea. By using a molecular genetic approach, the 5S-rRNA spacer domains of the three species of Angelica were amplified, and their nucleotide sequences were determined. Diversity in DNA sequences among various species was found in their 5S-rRNA spacer domains, which could serve as markers for authentic identification of Angelica roots. In chemical analyses, the main constituents of Angelica roots including ferulic acid and Z-ligustilide were determined by HPLC; roots of A. sinensis were clearly distinct in that they contained approximately 10-fold higher levels of ferulic acid and Z-ligustilide as compared to roots of A. acutiloba and A. gigas. In addition, the amounts of main constituents in roots of A. sinensis varied according to different regions of cultivation and different methods of preservation. The chemical profile determined by HPLC therefore could serve as a fingerprint for quality control of Angelica roots.

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