Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng) traditionally is used as a tonic to reduce the effects of stress, counteract fatigue and increase stamina. The main bioactive ingredients found in Panax ginseng and a related species, Panax quinquefolius (American ginseng), are triterpene saponins, commonly referred to as ginsenosides. Most methods for the analysis of ginsenosides use gradient elution reversed-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (RP-HPLC) with low-wavelength UV detection (203-205 nm) because the ginsenosides do not strongly absorb above 205 nm. This often results in strongly sloping baselines that complicate integration and interferences from minor components that have stronger UV chromophores than the ginsenosides.
An analytical method using the Thermo Scientific Dionex Corona CAD Charged Aerosol Detector is able to provide a reliable alternative to low-wavelength UV detection. Customer Application Note (CAN) 112: Determination of Ginsenosides in Panax ginseng by HPLC-CAD demonstrates that charged aerosol detection does not over respond to strong chromophores, thereby reducing interferences. Baseline slopes are not as pronounced or as variable, making peak area determinations more reliable.