Ginsenosides are thought to be the active compounds in ginseng, another plant long used in Chinese medicine that is now a popular supplement and the subject of research studies. NIST’s Standard Reference Material for ginsenosides provides manufacturers and researchers with a NIST-certified calibration solution for their measurement devices.
NIST obtained high-purity ginseng plant material for this SRM, filling a gap in the community’s toolkit. While other ginseng reference materials are available, the purity of the starting material is not always known. NIST measured the ginsenoside compounds with liquid chromatography-ultraviolet detection and mass spectrometry, two methods that allow for matching a detected spectrum to a database of known compounds, like matching fingerprints. Liquid chromatography-ultraviolet detection is the method most used in manufacturers’ test labs.
This SRM from NIST, developed in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements, provides product manufacturers with certified measurements for well characterized compounds in solution for use as calibrants for the measurement of ginsenosides.
A unit of SRM 3389 consists of 5 ampoules, each containing approximately 1 milliliter of ginsenosides that can be stored at -20 °C or below. Four of the five ampoules contain ginsenosides Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, and Rg1 in methanol, and one ampoule contains ginsenoside Rf in methanol.