DNA based identification of medicinal materials in Chinese patent medicines
Chinese patent medicines (CPM) are highly processed and easy to use Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The market for CPM in China alone is tens of billions US dollars annually and some of the CPM are also used as dietary supplements for health augmentation in the western countries. But concerns continue to be raised about the legality, safety and efficacy of many popular CPM. Here we report a pioneer work of applying molecular biotechnology to the identification of CPM, particularly well refined oral liquids and injections. What's more, this PCR based method can also be developed to an easy to use and cost-effective visual chip by taking advantage of G-quadruplex based Hybridization Chain Reaction. This study demonstrates that DNA identification of specific Medicinal materials is an efficient and cost-effective way to audit highly processed CPM and will assist in monitoring their quality and legality.