Herba Siegesbeckiae (HS, Xixiancao in Chinese) is a commonly used traditional Chinese medicinal herb for soothing joints. In ancient materia medica books, HS is recorded to be the aerial part of Siegesbeckia pubescens Makino (SP) which is also the only origin of HS in the 1963 edition of the Chinese Pharmacopeia (ChP). The aerial parts of Siegesbeckia orientalis L. (SO) and Siegesbeckia glabrescens Makino (SG) have been included as two additional origins for HS in each edition of ChP since 1977. However, chemical and pharmacological comparisons among these three species have not been conducted.
An HPLC with diode array detector (HPLC-DAD) method combined with similarity analysis, hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) and principal component analysis (PCA) was developed for comparing the fingerprint chromatograms of the three species. The inhibitory effects of the three species on NO production and IL-6 secretion in LPS-stimulated RAW264.7 macrophages were compared.
Fingerprint chromatograms of the three species showed different profiles, but had 13 common peaks. Results from HCA and PCA of the common peaks demonstrated that all 14 herbal samples of the three species tended to be grouped and separated species dependently. The extents of inhibition on NO production and IL-6 secretion of the three species were different, with SG being the most and SP the least potent.
Both chemical profiles and inflammatory mediator-inhibitory effects of the three species were different. These findings provide a chemical and pharmacological basis for determining whether the three species can all serve as the origins of HS.