A renaissance in herbal medicine identification: From morphology to DNA
Numerous adverse reactions have arisen following the use of inaccurately identified medicinal plant ingredients, resulting in conditions such as aristolochic acid nephropathy and herb-induced poisoning. This problem has prompted increased global concern over the safety of herbal medicines. DNA barcoding, a technique aiming at detecting species-specific differences in a short region of DNA, provides a powerful new tool for addressing this problem. A preliminary system for DNA barcoding herbal materials has been established based on a two-locus combination of ITS2 + psbA–trnH barcodes. There are 78,847 sequences belonging to 23,262 species in the system, which include more than 95% of crude herbal drugs in pharmacopeia, such as those of China, Japan, Korea, India, USA, and Europe. The system has been widely used in traditional herbal medicine enterprises. This review summarizes recent key advances in the DNA barcoding of medicinal plant ingredients (herbal materia medica) as a contribution towards safe and efficacious herbal medicines.
Journal: Biotechnology Advances - Volume 32, Issue 7, 15 November 2014, Pages 1237–1244