Volume 21 (2005) Issue 9 Pages 1019-1029
Traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs) with many unique functions for treating diseases have attracted the interest of people worldwide. They have been popularly utilized for therapy and health promotion in most Asian countries and even in many European and North American countries. However, it should be clearly noted that TCMs are mixtures with complicated composition usually containing hundreds, even thousands of chemically different constituents, and it is the multiple constituents that work synthetically to determine the ultimate effect of a formula of TCM. Meanwhile, some components with toxicity in some TCMs, having various negative effects on different parts of body, may do serious harm to people's health; such harm in particular requires our attention. In this article, applications of different chromatographic and electrophoretic techniques in the analysis of toxic components in TCMs in recent decades have been comprehensively reviewed and some hyphenated procedures (combinations of two kinds of measurement) applied in this field are also summarized.