Supercritical fluid chromatography in traditional Chinese medicine analysis

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Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) are gaining increasing popularity throughout the world due to their long historical clinical practices. Highly efficient analytical separation tools are essential for investigating the mysterious properties of TCMs and their quality control. Supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) showed a great potential in TCM analysis for both nonpolar and polar components. In this paper, an overview of the experimental conditions (i.e. detection mode, stationary phase, mobile phase composition, pressure and temperature) used in SFC for achiral separations of TCM components is presented and recent applications to the analysis of different classes of compounds extracted from TCMs, such as lipids, terpene and terpenoids, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, alkaloids, saponins and carbohydrates, will be briefly described.

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