Polygoni Multiflori Radix (PMR, Heshouwu in Chinese), derived from the tuberous roots of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb., is a widely-used Chinese medicinal material. For traditional clinical use, raw PMR (RPMR) is processed by nine cycles of steaming and drying to generate processed PMR (PPMR); RPMR and PPMR have distinct medicinal purposes based on the theory of traditional Chinese medicine. While PMR has been processed for hundreds of years, including the present, the chemistry of that processing has not been well studied. In this study, targeted and untargeted metabolomics analyses using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-QTOF-MS/MS) and ultra-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole/triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (UPLC-QqQ-MS/MS) were integrated to investigate the processing chemistry of PMR. The results demonstrate that processing by nine cycles of steaming and drying qualitatively and quantitatively alters the chemical profile of PMR. Several mechanisms, namely hydrolysis, dehydration, isomerization, and Maillard reaction appear to be involved in the chemical transformation that occurs. The qualitative and quantitative data further suggest that nine cycles might be necessary for the preparation of PPMR, as PPMR that has been processed nine times shows significant differences in its chemical profile.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Pharmacology (medical)
- Polygoni multiflori radix
- Processing chemistry
- Targeted and untargeted metabolomics