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Article Title

Standardized extracts of Chinese medicinal herbs: Case study of Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge)

Abstract

The global trend of favoring healthcare with medicines or neutraceuticals derived from natural products has prompted an increasing interest recently on the development of herbal medicines. However, unlike synthetic chemical drugs, the pharmaceutical actions of herbal products often cannot be attributed to a particular compound, but owe rather to the synergy of a complex compound mixture. This calls for the urgent need to develop standardized extract to serve as reference materials for researches involved in drug discovery, product development and quality assessment. The emphasis of this review is to discuss the processes employed to prepare the extracts, and the techniques used to standardize their biochemical properties. Real cases, in particular those carried out in the author's own laboratory, will be used to exemplify major technical issues involved in these studies. Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza Bunge) in particular, will be used as a case study to illustrate the processes involved in extract preparation and standardization.

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