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Phytochemistry Reviews

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 341–367 | Cite as

Chemistry, bioactivity and quality control of Dendrobium, a commonly used tonic herb in traditional Chinese medicine

  • Jun Xu
  • Quan-Bin Han
  • Song-Lin Li
  • Xiao-Jia Chen
  • Xiao-Ning Wang
  • Zhong-Zhen Zhao
  • Hu-Biao Chen
Article

Abstract

The fresh or dried stems of many Dendrobium species are well known as one of the most expensive tonics in traditional Chinese medicine. Documented as a “superior grade” herbal medicine in the ancient text “Shen Nong’s Herbal Classic”, Dendrobium has been used for thousands of years and is now a popular health food worldwide. The main chemical components of Dendrobium are alkaloids, aromatic compounds, sesquiterpenoids and polysaccharides, with multiple biological activities, including immunomodulatory, neuroprotective and anti-tumor effects, etc. Various qualitative and quantitative methods have been developed for the quality evaluation of Dendrobium. In this review, the research progress since the 1930s relating to the chemistry, bioactivity and quality control of Dendrobium is summarized, existing problems and prospects are also discussed.

Keywords

Dendrobium Chemistry Bioactivity Quality control 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards Phase VII Project from Department of Health, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (DH/TCMD/HKCMMS/5-80/180C) and the Non-profit Special Fund from State Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine of the People’s Republic of China (No. 201307008).

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jun Xu
    • 1
  • Quan-Bin Han
    • 1
  • Song-Lin Li
    • 2
  • Xiao-Jia Chen
    • 3
  • Xiao-Ning Wang
    • 2
  • Zhong-Zhen Zhao
    • 1
  • Hu-Biao Chen
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Chinese MedicineHong Kong Baptist UniversityHong Kong SARChina
  2. 2.Department of Pharmaceutical Analysis and MetabolomicsJiangsu Province Academy of Traditional Chinese MedicineNanjingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Institute of Chinese Medical SciencesUniversity of MacauMacaoChina

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