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J Nat Med. 2013 Apr;67(2):339-49. doi: 10.1007/s11418-012-0691-6. Epub 2012 Jul 28.

Comparative studies of saponins in 1-3-year-old main roots, fibrous roots, and rhizomes of Panax notoginseng, and identification of different parts and growth-year samples.

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  • 1Department of Chemical Biology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, 100191, China.


Notoginsenosides R1, R4, Fa, and K (N-R1, N-R4, N-Fa, and N-K), as well as ginsenosides Rg1, Rb1, Rd, Re, Rf, Rg2 and Rh1 (G-Rg1, G-Rb1, G-Rd, G-Re, G-Rf, G-Rg2 and G-Rh1) in 47 Notoginseng samples including 1-, 2- and 3-year-old main roots, rhizomes and fibrous roots of Panax notoginseng were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection method. Total contents (%) of the 11 saponins were 9.82-14.57 for 2-year old and 14.20-16.00 for 3-year-old rhizomes; 2.72-4.50 for 2-year-old and 1.98-4.92 for 3-year-old fibrous roots; 1.75-3.05 for 1-year-old whole roots; and 3.71-8.98 for 2-year-old and 7.03-11.23 for 3-year-old main roots. Contents of most saponins and total content of 11 saponins were in the order 3- >2- >1-year-old main root samples. G-Rf content, sum of G-Rf and G-Rh1 were, respectively, 0.08-0.18 and 0.14-0.32 for 2- or 3-year-old rhizomes, and 0.01-0.07 and 0.03-0.10 for 2- or 3-year-old main roots. Combined contents of N-R1, G-Rg1 and G-Rb1 were 5.78-9.37 in 3-year-old main roots, and 2.99-7.13 in 2-year-old main roots, of which nearly one-third of samples were lower than the limit (5 %) in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia. Those of 2- or 3-year-old fibrous roots (1.47-3.83) and 1-year-old whole roots (1.41-2.44) were much lower than the limit, and were considered not suitable for use as Notoginseng. Two-year-old main roots are not appropriate for collection as Notoginseng. Different parts and growth years of P. notoginseng can be identified from each another according to differences in saponin content.

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