Scutellaria is a geographically widespread and diverse genus of the Lamiaceae family of herbaceous plants commonly known as skullcaps. Scutellaria is used widely as an ethnobotanical herb for the treatment of various ailments ranging from cancers, cirrhosis, jaundice, hepatitis, anxiety and nervous disorders. We used (1) reverse-phase liquid chromatography coupled to a diode array detector (LC-DAD), and (2) multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) using mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) to quantify the levels of acteoside, scutellarin, scetellarein, baicalin, baicalein, wogonin, wogonoside, apigenin, chrysin, and oroxylin A in aqueous methanolic extracts of roots, shoots and leaves of S. baicalensis, S. lateriflora, S. racemosa, S. tomentosa and S. wrightii. Our results indicate that both methods (LC-DAD and LC-MS/MS) were robust for the detection of the 10 analytes from Scutellaria extracts although greater sensitivities were achieved using LC-MS/MS in MRM mode. MRM enabled the detection of low levels of analytes which were otherwise undetected using LC-DAD. The baicalin content of S. wrightii roots were 5-fold higher than the commonly used S. baicalensis. Additionally, we also showed that leaves of both S. wrightii and S. tomentosa are good sources of scutellarin compared to S. baicalensis. Our data clearly demonstrated that previously uncharacterized species, S. wrightii and S. tomentosa are both good sources of flavonoids, particularly scutellarin, baicalin, wogonin and baicalein.
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This work is supported by Science Foundation Ireland Research Frontiers Programme Grants (06/SFI/RFP/GEN034 and 08/SFI/RFP/EOB1087) and a Science Foundation Ireland Equipment Grant (06/SFI/RFP/GEN034ES) to C.K-Y.N.
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Nurul Islam, M., Downey, F. & Ng, C.K.Y. Comparative analysis of bioactive phytochemicals from Scutellaria baicalensis, Scutellaria lateriflora, Scutellaria racemosa, Scutellaria tomentosa and Scutellaria wrightii by LC-DAD-MS. Metabolomics 7, 446–453 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11306-010-0269-9