Comprehensive quantitative analysis of 32 chemical ingredients of a Chinese patented drug Sanhuang Tablet

Hau Yee Fung, Yan Lang, Hing Man Ho, Tin Long Wong, Edmond Dik Lung MA, Chung Hang Leung, Simon Q B HAN*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Sanhuang Tablet (SHT) is a Chinese patented drug commonly used for the treatment of inflammations of the respiratory tract, gastrointestinal tract, and skin. It contains a special medicinal composition including the single compound berberine hydrochloride, extracts of Scutellariae Radix and Rhei Radix et Rhizoma, as well as the powder of Rhei Radix et Rhizoma. Despite advances in analytical techniques, quantitative evaluation of a Chinese patented drug like SHT remains a challenge due to the complexity of its chemical profile. In this study, ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole-time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-Q-TOF-MS) was used to simultaneously quantify 29 non-sugar small molecule components of SHT (11 flavonoids, two isoflavonoids, one flavanone, five anthraquinones, two dianthranones, five alkaloids, two organic acids and one stilbene). Three major saccharide components, namely fructose, glucose, and sucrose, were also quantitatively determined using high performance liquid chromatography-charged aerosol detector (HPLC-CAD) on an Asahipak NH2P-50 4E amino column. The established methods were validated in terms of linearity, sensitivity, precision, accuracy, and stability, and then successfully applied to analyze 27 batches of commercial SHT products. A total of up to 57.61% (w/w) of SHT could be quantified, in which the contents of the determined non-saccharide small molecules varied from 5.91% to 16.83% (w/w) and three saccharides accounted for 4.41% to 48.05% (w/w). The results showed that the quality of the commercial products was inconsistent, and only four of those met Chinese Pharmacopoeia criteria.

Original languageEnglish
Article number111
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2017

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry

User-Defined Keywords

  • CAD
  • Chinese patented drug
  • Quality evaluation
  • Quantitative analysis
  • Sanhuang Tablet


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