A total of 37 commercial samples of Ginseng Radix, the origins of which belonged to Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer, P. quinquefolia Linn. (American ginseng), and P. notoginseng Burkill (sanchi-ginseng), respectively, were collected from the Taiwan herbal markets. The contents of nine ginsenosides, Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rf, Rg1, Rg2, R0, and three malonylginsenosides, mRb1, mRb2, mRc, in these samples were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography. It was found that the saponin contents in P. notoginseng and P. quinquefolia were generally higher than in P. ginseng. The ginsenosides that were of the highest contents in the white-ginseng, red-ginseng, and shihchu-ginseng samples of P. ginseng were Rb1 and Rg1, those in the root-hair of P. ginseng were Rb1 and Re, those in P. notoginseng were Rb1, Rg1 and Rd, and those in P. quinquefolia were Rb1, Re, and mRb1. Among the samples, those of P. quinquefolia did not contain Rf and Rg2, whilst those of shihchu-ginseng and red-ginseng of P. ginseng contained none or only traces of the malonylginsenosides. From the data of chemical analysis of a herb's constituents and its external appearance, we can postulate not only the quality but also the origin of the herb.
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