Journal of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (5): 339-347.DOI: 10.5246/jcps.2019.05.033

• Original articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Effects of harvesting time and processing on the contents of five alkaloids in the herbaceous stems of Ephedra sinica

Wen Zhang1, Kangfei Duan1, Mingying Shang1*, Meng Guan2, Deyun Li2, Zongli Bai3, Zhiyong Le3, Shaoqing Cai1   

  1. 1. Department of Natural Medicines, School of Pharmaceutical Science, Peking University Health Science Center, Beijing 100191, China
    2. China Meheco Group Co., Ltd., Beijing 100061, China
    3. Kangmei Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., Puning 515300, China
  • Received:2019-03-01 Revised:2019-03-25 Online:2019-05-31 Published:2019-04-15
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  • Supported by:

    State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine Standardization Action Plan Project  (Grant No. ZYBZH-Y-GD-13).


In the present study, we studied the changes of the contents of alkaloids in the herbaceous stems of Ephedra sinicaduring different harvest periods as well as before and after processing. The alkaloid contents of 39 batches of ephedra herb, prepared slices ephedra and honey-fried ephedra, 24 batches of ephedra herb with different harvesting periods, which were all collected from cultivation base in Inner Mongolia, and 38 batches of prepared slices ephedra purchased from the market were detected by taking norephedrine (NE), norpseudoephedrine (NPE), ephedrine (E), pseudoephedrine (PE) and methylephedrine (ME) as indicators by using HPLC method. The content of total alkaloid in prepared slices ephedra (1.71%–3.14%) was higher than that in ephedra herb (1.20%–2.53%) and honey-fried ephedra (1.52%–2.99%). Contents of different alkaloids in these three types of samples were significantly different. Prepared slices ephedra and honey-fried ephedra showed significant differences in the contents of NE, NPE and ME (P<0.05), and the contents of E were significantly different between ephedra herb and honey-fried ephedra (P<0.05). The total alkaloid content of ephedra herb was the highest in September (3.10%). Alkaloid contents of prepared slices ephedra collected in the market were uneven and 13%–91% lower than those collected from cultivation base. The results provided a basis for the quality evaluation of ephedra herb and its processed products, and had certain guiding significance for the selection of processed ephedra according to different drug purposes in clinical application. It also provided data support for the harvesting time of ephedra herb.

Key words: Ephedra sinica, Alkaloid, Ephedra herb, Prepared slices ephedra, Honey-fried ephedra, HPLC

CLC Number: