Plant Diversity ›› 2012, Vol. 34 ›› Issue (6): 607-613.DOI: 10.3724/SP.J.1143.2012.12162

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

On the Methods and Principles of Molecular Identification of Chinese Herbs

YUAN  Qing-Jun-1, ZHANG  Wen-Jing-1、2, JIANG  Dan-1、2, ZHANG  Yong-Qing-2, MA  Chao-Yi-1, HUANG  Lu-Qi-1   

  1. 1 Institute of Chinese Materia Medica, China Academy of Chinese Medicinal Sciences, Beijing 100700, China;
    2 College of Pharmacy, Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jinan 250355, China
  • Received:2012-11-20 Online:2012-12-25 Published:2012-11-28


Accurate identification of herbal medicinal materials is relevant to the safety of human life and economic interests. Traditional identification methods, including sensory evaluation, microscopic identification, physical and chemical identification, all have their limitations. Molecular identification brings a new opportunity for accurate identification of herbal medicinal materials. However, prior to its wide adoption, the methods and principles of molecular identification should be fully discussed. In this paper, we proposed a set of new methods for molecular authentication of herbal medicinal materials: 1) Identification between authenticity and adulteration by using specific polymerase chain reaction; 2) Identification between official herb and substitute by using the method of DNA barcoding; 3) Identification among multiple species of one official herbs by constructing genealogy among closelyrelated species based on population genetics; 4) Identification among herbs of different geographical origins by phylogeographybased analysis. For those that can not be identified by above four methods, more rapidly evolved markers such as microsatellite should be employed and individualbased analysis could be adopted.

Key words: Herbal medicines, Molecular identification, Authenticity and adulteration, Official herb and substitute, Multiple species origin, Different regional origins

CLC Number: