Concentrations of the active constituents of the Tibetan folk medicine Qinjiao (Gentiana sect. Cruciata) within and between taxonomic species across the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau.Chem Biodivers. 2010 Aug; 7(8):2088-94.CB
The Tibetan folk medicine Qinjiao is traditionally used to treat various conditions, and its main active constituents comprise four iridoid glycosides, i.e., loganic acid, swertiamarin, gentiopicroside, and sweroside. The traditional crude medicine Qinjiao is derived from the dried roots of three species belonging to Gentiana sect. Cruciata (Gentianaceae) growing in the Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP). In this study, we determined by HPLC the contents of the four main active constituents in the dried roots collected from 83 localities at different altitudes across the QTP. The material was classified under the seven taxonomic species G. straminea, G. dahurica, G. crassicaulis, G. waltonii, G. officinalis, G. ihassica, and G. macrophylla. Our results suggested that the four constituents were present in the roots of all seven species for all localities, but their concentrations varied greatly within and between species. The level of gentiopicroside revealed to be the most dominant for all examined localities (2.1-12.4 mg/g), and G. macrophylla Pall. contained the highest concentration of all the four constituents at the species level. Except for loganic acid in G. officinalis, there was no significant correlation between the contents of these constituents and the altitude of the sampling localities. These results suggest that all species of all origins can be used as reliable resource for the crude medicine Qinjiao. However, a few species contain higher concentrations of the main active constituents, irrespective of their origin.