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Biotechnol Adv. 2014 Nov 15;32(7):1237-44. doi: 10.1016/j.biotechadv.2014.07.004. Epub 2014 Jul 31.

A renaissance in herbal medicine identification: from morphology to DNA.

Author information

1
Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, PR China; Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing 100700, PR China. Electronic address: slchen@implad.ac.cn.
2
Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, PR China.
3
Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100193, PR China. Electronic address: songjingyuan@hotmail.com.
4
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey TW9 3AB, UK.

Abstract

Numerous adverse reactions have arisen following the use of inaccurately identified medicinal plant ingredients, resulting in conditions such as aristolochic acid nephropathy and herb-induced poisoning. This problem has prompted increased global concern over the safety of herbal medicines. DNA barcoding, a technique aiming at detecting species-specific differences in a short region of DNA, provides a powerful new tool for addressing this problem. A preliminary system for DNA barcoding herbal materials has been established based on a two-locus combination of ITS2+psbA-trnH barcodes. There are 78,847 sequences belonging to 23,262 species in the system, which include more than 95% of crude herbal drugs in pharmacopeia, such as those of China, Japan, Korea, India, USA, and Europe. The system has been widely used in traditional herbal medicine enterprises. This review summarizes recent key advances in the DNA barcoding of medicinal plant ingredients (herbal materia medica) as a contribution towards safe and efficacious herbal medicines.

KEYWORDS:

Adverse reactions; DNA barcode; ITS2; Plant authentication; Safety; psbA–trnH

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