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J Sep Sci. 2011 Jun;34(12):1437-46. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201000899. Epub 2011 May 10.

Qualitative and quantitative analyses of Epimedium wushanense by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with diode array detection and electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry.

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State Key Laboratory of Natural and Biomimetic Drugs, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, PR China.


A new HPLC-DAD-ESI-MS(n) method was developed for rapid separation, characterization and quantitation of flavonoids in Epimedium wushanense, a popular Chinese herbal medicine. For qualitative identification, a total of 37 compounds were characterized from the underground and aerial parts of E. wushanense. Among them, 28 compounds were prenylated flavonoids, and 23 were confirmed by comparing with reference standards. For quantitative analysis, 12 major flavonoids including kaempferol glycosides, desmethylicaritin glycosides, and icaritin glycosides were simultaneously determined by HPLC/UV. Samples were separated on a Waters Symmetry C(18) column at 35 °C eluted with a gradient three-component mobile phase of acetonitrile, methanol, and water containing 0.03% v/v formic acid. All the flavonoids showed good linearity (r(2) ≥0.9997). The recoveries varied from 92.6 to 106.1% at three concentration levels. This method was applied to the determination of 20 samples of different geographical sources, harvesting time, and plant parts. Contents of the predominant flavonoid, epimedin C, ranged from 1.4 to 5.1% in aerial parts and 1.0 to 2.8% in underground parts. The methods established in this paper were simple and reliable and could be used for the quality control of E. wushanense.

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