Composition and Quality Control of Herbal Medicines

  • Jandirk SendkerEmail author
  • Helen Sheridan


Herbal medicine, or “phyto-medicine,” refers to the practice of using plant materials for medicinal purposes. Across the globe, traditional herbal medicines play a significant role in healthcare, and the worldwide annual market for these products approaches US $60 billion. Several challenges face the increasing growth in the herbal medicine and herbal medicinal product markets. These challenges relate to the lack of harmonization of international standards; sustainable production of high-quality herbal material in the face of overharvesting of wild species; and determining and establishing the quality, safety, and efficacy of these materials, which can range from simple, one-herb formulas to complex, multi-component formulas as seen in some traditional Chinese herbal medicines. The increasing understanding of the minor components’ importance and synergism in the bioactivity of herbal medicine poses numerous scientific questions that need to be addressed by targeted research programs. In this chapter we deal with the important topics of the composition of herbal medicines and the quality control of these medicinal products, with special emphasis on the role of concomitant compounds and co-effectors; we examine the production chain and the complex factors that impact the composition of the final herbal material; we discuss and evaluate the current methods and accepted gold standards for quality control of herbal materials and finished products; and we also examine emerging technologies and consider changes in international regulations and the impact they may have on this area.


Analytical characterization Chemical fingerprint Chemometrics Chinese herbal medicine Chromatography Chromatographic fingerprinting Classification Co-effectors Concomitant compounds Cultivation Exploratory data analysis GACP GMP Herbal medicine Metabolomics Multi-component mixture Natural deep eutectic solvents (NADES) Nutraceuticals pharmaceuticals Phytochemistry Quality control Species identification Spectroscopy Solubilization Stability Synergy Traditional Chinese medicine Traditional herbal medicine Wild harvesting 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Münster, Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology and PhytochemistryMünsterGermany
  2. 2.Trinity College Dublin, School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesDublin 2Ireland

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