Herbal Medicines and Botanical Supplements

Techniques > HPTLC and TLC > Herbal Medicines and Botanical Supplements

HPTLC is the technique of choice for the analysis of herbal medicines and botanical dietary supplements. Botanical ingredients are particularly difficult to identify by routine analytical techniques due to their complexity. As they are natural materials, confirming their identity requires an analytical technique that can provide enough information to be able to distinguish between different species and plant parts as well as dealing with their natural variability. HPTLC is a visual technique so you will see everything, right there on the plate. It is the only technique that provides this amount of detailed information about the sample, plant materials can therefore be identified based upon their chromatographic fingerprint. With the ability to analyse several samples on the same plate, the fingerprints can easily be compared side-by-side making it simple to visually check the identity, confirm the presence of adulterants and analyse the purity of the sample. After the qualitative analysis is complete it is then possible to quantify separated marker compounds with the help of the TLC scanner. Whether you are looking to analyse raw materials or finished products, standardised HPTLC methods allow you to perform both qualitative and quantitative analysis.


According to corresponding monographs of USPPhEur and AHP on Ginkgo leaf and Ginkgo leaf extract are identified by HPTLC based on fingerprints of flavonoids. In addition to the identification, our case study method demonstrates how ginkgolides and bilobalide in Ginkgo biloba extracts can be quantified by by densitometry using the TLC Scanner.

Most techniques can address identification only in part. They either are limited to plant parts (microscopy), have difficulties with natural variability of botanical materials (IR techniques), or focus on quantitative comparison of separated markers (HPLC).