A systematic approach to quantitation of ephedra alkaloids in natural health products

Lam, Joseph W. H.; Gardner, Graeme J.; McCooeye, Margaret; Fraser, Catharine A.; Sturgeon, Ralph E.
September 2005
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Sep2005, Vol. 383 Issue 2, p268
Academic Journal
A method for accurate determination of ephedrine (E) alkaloids in natural health products (NHP) is described. The NIST dietary supplement standard reference materials (SRMs) were selected for these studies. These SRMs comprise ground Ma Huang herb ( Ephedra sinica Stapf.), a spray dried extract of the former, and commercial formulations derived from gel caps and a protein drink. The efficiency of sonication-assisted extraction and Soxhlet extraction was studied using both ammonium formate and potassium phosphate in 3% methanol as extraction media. The efficiency of SPE clean-up of the extract deteriorated rapidly when increasing amounts of sample matrix or analyte were processed, because of limited cartridge capacity. Quantitation by the method of additions was required to ensure the highest accuracy using both LC–UV and ES–LC–MS–MS techniques. Whereas the LC–UV method is more convenient and precise, the results are more questionable than ES–LC–MS–MS, because species-specific detection is not possible.


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