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Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 198545, 11 pages
Research Article

Characterization of Tibetan Medicine Zuota by Multiple Techniques

Institute of Ethnic Medicine, Southwest University for Nationalities, Chengdu 610041, China

Received 21 April 2013; Accepted 5 August 2013

Academic Editor: Claudio Pettinari

Copyright © 2013 Xiao-Yan Zhao et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Zuota is regarded as the king of Tibetan medicine. However, due to the confidentiality of this precious medicine, the scientific characterization of Zuota is very scarce, which limits the pharmacology and biosafety studies of Zuota. Herein, we collected four different Zuota samples from Tibet, Qinghai, Gansu, and Sichuan and characterized them by multiple techniques. Our results showed that Zuota was mainly an inorganic mixture of HgS, sulfur, and graphite. Morphologically, Zuota samples were composed of nanoparticles, which further aggregated into microsized particles. Chemically, the majorities of Zuota were S and Hg (in the forms of HgS and pure sulfur). All samples contained pure sulfur with orthorhombic crystalline. Zuota from Qinghai province had different HgS crystalline, namely, hexagonal crystalline. The others were all face-centered cubic crystalline. Carbon in Zuota NPs was in the form of graphite. The implication to future studies of Zuota was discussed.