NMR-based metabolomics as a quality control tool for herbal products

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 3
  • Abstract:

    The full potential of the herbal market is mainly not realised due to the lack of knowledge of the chemical composition of most herbal products. The growth potential of the herbal medicine industry can only be achieved if the composition of herbal medicine is standardised to ensure proper quality control and accountability. Plant-based nuclear magnetic resonance metabolomics is one such way of ensuring quick and reliable quality control and metabolite profiling to ensure quality and reproducibility of herbal medicine. Nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics is robust and relatively easy to use, thus ensuring that herbal medicine can be verified and quality controlled much quicker and more accurate than is currently the case. Although nuclear magnetic resonance is not as sensitive as other analytical techniques such as liquid chromatography and gas chromatography–mass spectroscopy, it is far more reproducible, non-destructive, covers a much wider dynamic range and sample preparation is simpler and quicker to use. Economical development of herbal medicine and the use of nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics should go hand in hand for a better future for herbal medicine. In this review an introduction is given to herbal extracts as therapeutic agents and to the quality control aspects of herbal medicine by means of metabolomics. The experimental methodology for plant metabolomics which covers extraction, nuclear magnetic resonance analysis and multivariate data analysis is also discussed. Some examples are given on the possible applications of nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics in the industry and finally the future of nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabolomics is discussed regarding advances in research and development.