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Medicinal Use of Qianhu Plant Roots

How the composition changes after bolting (flowering)

This study focused on tissue-specific metabolite profiling and comparison of various parts of bolting and unbolting Peucedanum praeruptorum Dunn (Qianhu in Chinese). The qualitative and quantitative results were used to empirically clarify the suitability of Qianhu for medicinal purposes.

Qianhu, a well-known traditional Chinese medicine, is the dried root of unbolting or no-flowering Peucedanum praeruptorum Dunn. It has become one of the main ingredients in many Chinese patent drugs. Bolting and unbolting Qianhu are referred to as “Xiong Qianhu” and “Ci Qianhu”, respectively. Specifically, coumarins have been identified as the main active ingredients of Qianhu. It is thought that Qianhu roots harden after bolting and become unsuitable for medicinal purposes.

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The study employed fluorescence microscopy, laser microdissection coupled with ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q/TOF-MS) and high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection (HPLC-DAD). Results showed that the area of secondary xylem in the root increased after bolting. However, the secondary xylem also contained the least coumarins. In addition, 7 of the 29 identified coumarins, especially the pyran-coumarin, decreased after bolting. The results demonstrate that the concentration of the main active ingredients of Qianhu decreases after bolting, suggesting that Xiong Qianhu is not suitable for medicinal use.

The results of this study were acquired using a LMD7 laser microdissection microscope with a LMD-BGR fluorescence filter system and a RM2265 rotary microtome. To Learn more about laser microdissection microscopes from Leica Microsystems, go to this page.

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Chen LL, Chu SS, Zhang L, Xie J, Dai M, Wu X, and Peng HS:

Tissue-Specific Metabolite Profiling on the Different Parts of Bolting and Unbolting Peucedanum praeruptorum Dunn (Qianhu) by Laser Microdissection Combined with UPLC-Q/TOF–MS and HPLC–DAD

Molecules. 2019 Apr; 24(7): 1439.

Published online 2019 Apr 11. doi: 10.3390/molecules24071439