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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2017, Article ID 2802193, 12 pages
Research Article

Comparative Pharmacokinetics and Bioavailability of Three Ephedrines in Rat after Oral Administration of Unprocessed and Honey-Fried Ephedra Extract by Response Surface Experimental Design

1School of Traditional Chinese Materia Medica, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China
2School of Pharmacy, Shenyang Pharmaceutical University, Shenyang 110016, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Longshan Zhao; moc.361@oahznahsgnol and Xiaohui Chen; moc.liamtoh@uhpys_hxc

Received 2 March 2017; Accepted 12 April 2017; Published 19 June 2017

Academic Editor: Dolores García Giménez

Copyright © 2017 Yezhe Cheng 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.


Ephedra have been used as a common traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. However, the perspiration effect of the unprocessed ephedra was too strong. Clinical trials have shown that processing methods play a critical role in moderating the perspiration property of ephedra according to the needs. A LC-MS/MS method was developed and validated to compare the pharmacokinetic properties of the three ephedrines after oral administration of unprocessed and honey-fried ephedra extract. The contents of honey, frying temperature, and frying time were set at 20%, 116°C, and 7 min by the Box-Behnken response surface method, respectively. In the pharmacokinetics study, the biosamples were pretreated and extracted by protein precipitation method with acetonitrile and separated on an Agilent TC-C18 column (250 mm × 4.6 mm, 5 μm) using a mobile phase consisting of 0.1% formic acid methanol and 5 mM ammonium acetate aqueous solution (5 : 95, v/v). All calibration curves were linear () with lower limits of quantitation (LLOQs) < 12 ng/mL. The mean recoveries of the three analytes were higher than 75%. The pharmacokinetics study indicated that the reduced absorption of ephedrine hydrochloride (EH) and pseudoephedrine hydrochloride (PEH) in honey-fried ephedra group might be the main reason for the moderation of the diaphoretic property.