Natural product species

Species Identification for botanical extracts used in Natural Health Products

Medicinal plants have historically proven their value as a source of molecules with therapeutic potential, and nowadays still represent an important pool for the identification of novel drug leads. There are many species of plants to consider specifically in lead discovery and from a quality perspective.

NMR spectroscopy is well accepted as a definitive structural confirmation technique for natural species. NMR is used for species identification across a range of natural products, such as:

  • Ginseng
  • Blueberry leaf
  • Goldenseal

Ginseng use began 4,500 years ago, and its first record was written 2,000 years ago and is currently distributed to 35 countries around the world and reported to have numerous therapeutic benefits. NMR-based metabolomics demonstrates a high throughput and reproducible method in distinguishing between different ginseng species. Ginseng quality control, authentication and species identification can be achieved using a robust automated quality control method to provide information on the quality of ginseng that may provide insight into its efficacy.

Another example in natural health products is blueberry leaf extract Chlorogenic acid is the most abundant antioxidant found in blueberry leaf extract, known to possess antifungal and antidiabetic properties. NMR provides a highly reproducible, nondestructive analytical technique commonly used for identifying compounds and can determine the quantity of chlorogenic acid and hyperoside from crude extract material of blueberry leaves.

Similarly, Goldenseal has been around since the 1970's, emerging as the herb of choice among "in-the-know" herb consumers for topical and internal use, perceived as a natural antibiotic to a meteoric rise in the 90s.