Quantification of Aconitum alkaloids in aconite roots by a modified RP-HPLC method

Zhi Hong JIANG, Ying Xie, Hua Zhou, Jing Rong Wang, Zhong Qiu Liu, Yue Fan Wong, Xiong Cai, Hong Xi Xu, Liang LIU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


The three Aconitum alkaloids, aconitine (1), mesaconitine (2) and hypaconitine (3), are pharmacologically active but also highly toxic. A standardised method is needed for assessing the levels of these alkaloids in aconite roots in order to ensure the safe use of these plant materials as medicinal herbs. By optimising extraction, separation and measurement conditions, a reliable, reproducible and accurate method for the quantitative determination of all three Aconitum alkaloids in unprocessed and processed aconite roots has been developed. This method should be appropriate for use in the quality control of Aconitum products. The three Aconitum alkaloids were separated by a modified HPLC method employing a C18 column gradient eluted with acentonitrile and ammonium bicarbonate buffer. Quantification of Aconitum alkaloids, detected at 240 nm, in different batches of samples showed that the content of 1, 2 and 3 varied significantly. In general, the alkaloid content of unprocessed roots was higher than that of processed roots. These variations were considered to be the result of differences in species, processing methods and places of origin of the samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-421
Number of pages7
JournalPhytochemical Analysis
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Plant Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aconite roots
  • Aconitine
  • Hypaconitine
  • Mesaconitine
  • Quantitative determination


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