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Phytochem Anal 1998 Sep-Oct;9(5):232-6

Gas chromatographic determination of toxic quinolizidine alkaloids in blue cohosh Caulophyllum thalictroides (L.) Michx

Betz JM, Andrzejewski D, Troy A, Casey RE, Obermeyer WR, Page SW, Woldemariam TZ


Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides (L.) Michx., Berberidaceae) is a North American perennial herb which is found as an ingredient in dietary supplement products in the United States. The plant contains the alkaloids N-methylcytisine, baptifoline, anagyrine and magnoflorine. Some of the alkaloids, including the quinolizidine alkaloid anagyrine, are toxic to range animals and have been implicated as teratogens in higher animals. Since the traditional use of the herb involves administration to women of reproductive age to treat menstrual cramps, and to pregnant women in the last 3–4 weeks of pregnancy to ease parturition, therefore the safety of these products to the fetus is of concern. Three of these alkaloids have been determined in authentic blue cohosh and several dietary supplements. Levels found were: 5–850 ppm for N-methylcytisine, 2–390 ppm for anagyrine, and 9–900 ppm for baptifoline. The lower alkaloid concentrations were found in products containing liquid extracts. Alkaloid identities were confirmed by mass spectrometry.

Category: Journal Article
DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1565(199809/10)9:5<232::AID-PCA412>3.0.CO;2-5
Includes FDA Authors from Scientific Area(s): Food
Entry Created: 2012-12-28 Entry Last Modified: 2014-12-11