Recently, chromatographic fingerprinting has become one of the most powerful approaches to quality control of herbal medicines. However, the performance of reported chromatographic fingerprinting constructed by single chromatogram sometimes turns out to be inadequate for complex herbal medicines, such as multi-herb botanical drug products. In this study, multiple chromatographic fingerprinting, which consists of more than one chromatographic fingerprint and represents the whole characteristics of chemical constitutions of the complex medicine, is proposed as a potential strategy in this complicated case. As a typical example, a binary chromatographic fingerprinting of “Danshen Dropping Pill” (DSDP), the best-sold traditional Chinese medicine in China, was developed. First, two HPLC fingerprints that, respectively, represent chemical characteristics of depsides and saponins of DSDP were developed, which were used to construct binary chromatographic fingerprints of DSDP. Moreover, the authentication and validation of the binary fingerprints were performed. Then, a data-level information fusion method was employed to capture the chemical information encoded in two chromatographic fingerprints. Based on the fusion results, the lot-to-lot consistency and frauds can be determined either using similarity measure or by chemometrics approach. The application of binary chromatographic fingerprinting to consistency assessment and frauds detection of DSDP clearly demonstrated that the proposed method was a powerful approach to quality control of complex herbal medicines.
Source: Analytica Chimica Acta Volume 555, Issue 2, 12 January 2006, Pages 217-224