A rapid HPTLC method for detecting 5% of adulteration of Cimicifuga racemosa (A. racemosa) with C. foetida, C. heracleifolia, C. dahurica, or C. americana
Black cohosh Cimicifuga racemosa (syn.: Actaea racemosa) is used for treatment of discomfort during menopause and as a substitute for synthetic drugs in hormone replacement therapy. The plant is ranked among the top selling herbs in the United States. Most of the roots respectively rhizomes of black cohosh are wildcrafted. This results in a documented risk for adulteration with similar looking species, particularly Cimicifuga americana, growing in the same habitat of the Eastern USA. Others adulterants found in today's global marketplace are the three Asian Cimicifuga species of the Chinese Pharmacopeia, Cimicifuga foetida, C. heracleifolia, and C. dahurica. This report presents a very practical, rapid and reliable HPTLC-method, which allows the identification of C. racemosa and the detection of its most common adulterants by fingerprint profiles. With specific derivatization reagents mixtures of C. racemosa with a minimum of 5% of one the adulterant species C. foetida, C. heracleifolia, C. dahurica, or C. americana can be detected. The proposed method is useful for quality control of black cohosh raw material. It was validated with respect to specificity, stability, precision and robustness.