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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 608721, 11 pages
Research Article

Hydrolysis of Glycosidic Flavonoids during the Preparation of Danggui Buxue Tang: An Outcome of Moderate Boiling of Chinese Herbal Mixture

Division of Life Science and Center for Chinese Medicine, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear Water Bay Road, Hong Kong

Received 23 September 2013; Accepted 7 February 2014; Published 16 March 2014

Academic Editor: Zheng-Tao Wang

Copyright © 2014 Wendy Li Zhang 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.


Chemical change during boiling of herbal mixture is a puzzle. By using Danggui Buxue Tang (DBT), a herbal decoction that contains Astragali Radix (AR) and Angelicae Sinensis Radix (ASR), we developed a model in analyzing the hydrolysis of flavonoid glycosides during the boiling of herbal mixture in water. A proper preparation of DBT is of great benefit to the complete extraction of bioactive ingredients. Boiling of DBT in water increased the solubility of AR-derived astragaloside IV, calycosin, formononetin, calycosin-7-O-β-D-glucoside, and ononin in a time- and temperature-dependent manner: the amounts of these chemicals reached a peak at 2 h. The glycosidic resides of AR, calycosin-7-O-β-D-glucoside, and ononin could be hydrolyzed during the moderate boiling process to form calycosin and formononetin, respectively. The hydrolysis efficiency was strongly affected by pH, temperature, and amount of herbs. Interestingly, the preheated herbs were not able to show this hydrolytic activity. The current results supported the rationality of ancient preparation of DBT in boiling water by moderate heat.