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Letter to the editor in response to "Adulteration of Ginkgo biloba products and a simple method to improve its detection" by Wohlmuth et al.

Dear Sir,

We sincerely applaud the effort of Wohlmuth et al. aimed at improving detection of adulteration of Ginkgo biloba products (Wohlmuth et al., 2014). Adulteration of botanicals with articles of inferior quality, intentional substitution, and functional "boosting" with synthetic pharmaceuticals constitute significant concern for the United States Pharmacopeial Convention (USP). While the authors have indicated that tests included in USP do not permit to detect adulteration of ginkgo extract with flavonol aglycones, we feel compelled to bring to the readers' attention that a test similar to that described by Wohlmuth et al., has been recently proposed by USP in Pharmacopeial Forum (PF, 2013). Pharmacopeial Forum is a free online publication through which USP makes the monograph revision process fully accessible and transparent, and allows the readers to comment on new monographs and proposed revisions.

The revision to Powdered Ginkgo Extract monograph was published online on July 1, 2013, and was open for public comments until September 30, 2013. Much in line with Wohlmuth et al. work, the revision proposal adds a new procedure for the analysis of flavonol aglycones without prior hydrolysis with a limit for quercetin of not more than 0.5%. Furthermore, USP proposed a concurrent limit for rutin to not exceed 4%. Although natively present in gingko leaves, rutin is known to be added extraneously with the intent to inflate flavonol glycosides assay values. The new test titled Limit of Rutin and Quercetin will become official in the Second Supplement of USP 37 on December 1, 2014.

We would like to emphasize the requirement for botanical articles to meet every test in the monograph to be deemed compliant with USP. Because the three adulterated products identified by the authors would fail the requirements of the newly proposed test, they would be out of compliance once the monograph revision becomes official.

The proposed revision of Powdered Ginkgo Extract monograph illustrates our commitment to updating public standards in the face of the ever increasing issue of adulteration. We invite the research community to contribute their valuable ideas and practical efforts to help USP keep dietary supplements adulteration-free (USP, 2014).


Wohlmuth, H., Savage, K., Dowell, A., Mouatt, R, 2014. Adulteration of Ginkgo biloba products and a simple method to improve its detection. Phytomedicine 21 (6). 912-918.

Pharmacopeial Forum. 2013. Powdered Ginkgo Extract. PF 39 (4), 1-9 http://www.

USP, 2014. Monograph submission guideline, development-process/submit-new-monographs/submission-guidelines


Anton Bzhelyansky *

Nandakumara Sarma

Gabriel I. Giancaspro

United States Pharmacopeial Convention, Rockville, MD 20852, United States

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +1 301 230 6306; fax: +1 301 816 8147.

E-mail address: (A. Bzhelyansky)

10 March 2014

19 June 2014

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Title Annotation:Correspondence
Author:Bzhelyansky, Anton; Sarma, Nandakumara; Giancaspro, Gabriel I.
Publication:Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy & Phytopharmacology
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:Oct 15, 2014
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