Herbal medicines are growing in popularity, use and commercial value; however, there remain problems with the quality and consequently safety of these products. Adulterated, contaminated and fraudulent products are often found on the market, a risk compounded by the fact that these products are available to consumers with little or no medical advice. Current regulations and quality control methods are lacking in their ability to combat these serious problems. Metabolomics is a biochemical profiling tool that may help address these issues if applied to quality control of both raw ingredients and final products. Using the example of the popular herbal medicine, ginseng, this essay offers an overview of the potential use of metabolomics for quality control in herbal medicines and also highlights where more research is needed.
- complementary and alternative medicines;
- good manufacturing practices;
- principal component analysis;
- rapid evaporative ionisation mass spectrometry;
- traditional Chinese medicine;
- TOF-MS ultra-performance liquid chromatography-time of flight-mass spectrometry
- © 2016 The Author(s). published by Portland Press Limited on behalf of the Biochemical Society