Authentication is fundamental for standardization of Chinese medicines

Zhongzhen ZHAO*, Yani Hu, Zhitao LIANG, Jessie Pui Sai Yuen, Zhi Hong JIANG, Kelvin S Y LEUNG

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

109 Citations (Scopus)


Chinese medicines (CMs) are being used more and more widely throughout the world. Since there are many poisoning incidents caused by misuse or confusion of CMs, their safe use has become a critical issue internationally. In this paper, based on the investigation of the current market of CMs, reasons for various confusions of Chinese Materia Medica (CMM) are analyzed and clarified, such as herbs with multiple sources, regional custom-herbs, confusion in nomenclature, similarity in appearance, and complexity of processed products. Authentication of plant material is critical to the safe and effective use of CMM. In this paper, several authentication methods, such as taxonomy, morphology, microscopy, physical and chemical authentication, DNA molecular biology and their advanced applications in this area, are introduced. Furthermore, it is proposed that an authority on the authentication of CMM be established, as a physical institution and/or as an electronic database.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)865-874
Number of pages10
JournalPlanta Medica
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Organic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • Authentication
  • Chinese medicines
  • Herbal medicines
  • Identification
  • Standardization


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