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Luminescence. 2016 Mar;31(2):491-8. doi: 10.1002/bio.2987. Epub 2015 Aug 3.

Classification of Chinese herbs based on the cluster analysis of delayed luminescence.

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Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Shandong University School of Medicine, Ji'nan, Shandong Province, China.
Shandong Medicinal Biotechnology Center, Key Laboratory for Biotech-Drugs of the Ministry of Health, Shandong Academy of Medical Sciences, Ji'nan, Shandong Province, China.
Shandong Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ji'nan, Shandong Province, China.
Sino-Dutch Centre for Preventive and Personalized Medicine/Centre for Photonics of Living Systems, Leiden University, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ji'nan, Shandong Province, China.


Traditional Chinese material medica are an important component of the Chinese pharmacopeia. According to the traditional Chinese medicinal concept, Chinese herbal medicines are classified into different categories based on their therapeutic effects, however, the bioactive principles cannot be solely explained by chemical analysis. The aim of this study is to classify different Chinese herbs based on their therapeutic effects by using delayed luminescence (DL). The DL of 56 Chinese herbs was measured using an ultra-sensitive luminescence detection system. The different DL parameters were used to classify Chinese herbs according to a hierarchical cluster analysis. The samples were divided into two groups based on their DL kinetic parameters. Interestingly, the DL classification results were quite consistent with classification according to the Chinese medicinal concepts of 'cold' and 'heat' properties. In this paper, we show for the first time that by using DL technology, it is possible to classify Chinese herbs according to the Chinese medicinal concept and it may even be possible to predict their therapeutic properties.


Chinese herbal medicines; delayed luminescence; hierarchical cluster analysis; therapeutic properties of TCM

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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