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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 151-155

The mealiness and quality of herbal medicine: Licorice for example


Department of Chemistry of Traditional Chinese Medicine, College of Pharmacy, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Dalian, China

Correspondence Address:
Prof. Deqiang Dou
College of Pharmacy, Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, No. 77 Life 1 Road, Dalian
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0974-8490.204642

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Background: The morphological identification is an effective and simple quality evaluation method in Chinese drugs, and the traits of mealiness and color were widely used in the commercial market of Chinese drugs. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the correlation between mealiness of herbal drugs and its quality; licorice was selected as an example. Materials and Methods: The mealiness of licorice was graded by its weight; meanwhile, the content of glycyrrhizic acid and liquiritin was determined by high-performance liquid chromatography-diode-array detection method; the content of polysaccharides, soluble sugars, pectin, total starch, amylose, and amylopectin was measured by colorimetric method; and the number and diameter of starch granule were observed by microscope. Results: The results showed that the mealiness of licorice which collected from wild and cultivated plants is positively correlated with the content of glycyrrhizic acid, liquiritin, the ratio of amylose to total starch, and the number of starch granules whose diameter was over 5 μm. However, the mealiness is negatively correlated with the total starch. Further, the formation mechanism of starch granule was discussed. Conclusion: It is for the first time to report the positive correlation between the mealiness and the starch granule size, the ratio of amylose to total starch, which can provide rationality for the quality evaluation using the character of mealiness in herbal medicine. It is a convenient method to justify the quality of herbal medicine. To explore the correlation between mealiness of herbal drugs and its quality, licorice was selected as an example. The result indicated that the effective constituent is correlated with mealiness of licorice.


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