The granule of Chinese medicine (GCM) is prepared by water-soluble extract of single yinpian (WESY) of herbal medicine, and used as a drug ingredient for clinical formulation. The WESY content or corresponding yinpian amount is the most important parameter in evaluating the quality of GCM. Low WESY content reflects poor GCM. Classical quantitative methods, such as HPLC, cannot fully detect the adulteration by adding characteristic ingredients and less WESY production. GCM is composed of WESY and a high content of specific excipient. The WESY content in the GCM may be indirectly analyzed using mid-infrared spectroscopy (MIR).
In this paper, a quantitative method to evaluate the quality of Danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) granule (DG) was developed using MIR combined with chemometrics. Appropriate characteristic quantitative regions (CQR) were extracted by selecting the spectral regions corresponding to altered excipient content in DG. The best model of dextrin content determination in DG with low RMSEC of 1.97, low RMSEP of 2.07, and excellent RPD of 5.03 (>5.0) was obtained using partial least-squares (PLS) regression, and validated using accepted values of precision and recovery. The results suggest that FT-MIR combined with PLS is a rapid and valuable analytical tool to determine the WESY in DG based on excipient content. The model enabling indirect calculation of WESY content in GCM represents a reference standard for rapid analysis of other WESYs in GCM industry.