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St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) products – an assessment of their authenticity and quality

Booker, A; Agapouda, A; Frommenwiler, DA; Scotti, F; Reich, E; Heinrich, M; (2018) St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) products – an assessment of their authenticity and quality. Phytomedicine , 40 pp. 158-164. 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.12.012. Green open access

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Abstract

BACKGROUND: St John's wort products (Hypericum perforatum L.) are widely available for sale in many countries including the UK via the internet. In the UK, these products are required to hold either a marketing authorisation or Traditional herbal registration (THR) to be sold legally. The THR and other regulatory schemes help to ensure product safety and quality providing an example of best practice but there is a risk if both regulated and un-regulated products continue to be available to consumers. AIMS: The project is embedded in a larger study aiming to investigate the quality of different herbal medicinal products along diverse value chains. Here we focus on a comparison of the quality of the finished products and assess phytochemical variation between registered products (THRs) and products obtained from the market without any registration. METHODS: 47 commercial products (granulated powders and extracts) were sourced from different suppliers. We analysed these samples using high performance thin layer chromatography (HPTLC) and 1 H NMR spectroscopy coupled with multi-variate analysis software following a method previously developed by our group. RESULTS: The consistency of the products varies significantly. Adulteration of the products (36%), possibly with other Hypericum species obtained from China or use of chemically distinct H. perforatum cultivars or chemotypes, and adulteration of the products (19%) with food dyes (tartrazine, amaranth, brilliant blue, sunset yellow) were the principle findings of this study. CONCLUSIONS: There is significant compositional variation among commercial finished products and two main causative quality problems were identified as adulteration by incorrect species or adulteration with food dyes. Generally, food supplements and unlicensed p roducts were found to be of poorer quality than the regulated ones including THRs.

Type: Article
Title: St John's wort (Hypericum perforatum) products – an assessment of their authenticity and quality
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2017.12.012
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2017.12.012
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Quality control, Value chains, Traditional Herbal Registration (THR), Avicularin/guaijaverin, St John's wort, Hypericum perforatum
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > UCL School of Pharmacy > Pharma and Bio Chemistry
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10044073
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