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Application of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry in research of traditional Chinese medicine

Jiesheng Ye

Wuhu Institute for Drug Control, Zhe Shan Xi Road 32, Wuhu, 241000, Anhui Province, China



Received: 22 December 2008  Revised: 16 March 2009  Accepted: 17 March 2009

Abstract: It is well known that traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) plays a more and more important role in modern pharmaceutical industry. It has been used in the therapy of many diseases for several thousand years because of its high pharmacological activity, low toxicity and rare side effects. In TCM, as an important group of secondary metabolites, essential oils have attracted a great deal of attention in recent years. Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) is the most commonly used technique for the analysis of liposoluble constituents, especially volatile/semi-volatile compounds, and their metabolites in biological fluids due to its high resolution, selectivity and sensitivity. This review briefly describes the applications of GC-MS for the isolation and characterization of volatile compounds from TCM. In addition, GC-MS methods adopted in the metabolic profiling of volatile compounds in biological matrices are also described.

Keywords: gas chromatography-mass spectrometry - essential oil - traditional Chinese medicine - metabolic profiling

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.2478/s11696-009-0056-0


Chemical Papers 63 (5) 506–511 (2009)

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