Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been widely used in many countries for thousands of years and played an indispensable role in the prevention and treatment of diseases, especially the complicated and chronic ones. However, the application of TCM in diseases is still not fully recognized by people around the world, the main reason is that Chinese herb is a very complex mixture containing hundreds of different components. Thus, it is essential to make quality control and evaluation of TCM. A new quality evaluation method, quantitative analysis of multi-components by single marker (QAMS), was developed to the quality control of alkaloids in TCM, a case study on Radix aconiti lateralis, named Fuzi in Chinese. Six alkaloids, including aconitine, hypaconitine, mesaconitine, benzoylaconine, benzoylmesaconine, and benzoylhypaconine, were selected as main components to evaluate the quality of Radix aconiti lateralis. The feasibility and accuracy of QAMS were checked by the external standard method, and various high-performance liquid chromatographic instruments and chromatographic conditions were investigated to verify its applicability. Using aconitine as the internal reference substance and the content of aconitine was calculated according to relative correction factors by high-performance liquid chromatography. The present results showed that there was no significant difference observed between the QAMS method and the external standard method with the relative average deviations less than 3.0%, and QAMS is an effective way to control the quality of herbal medicines and seems to be a convenient and accurate approach to analyze multi-composition when reference substances are unavailable.
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