Document Type


Publication Date



INTRODUCTION: Alkaloids and glycosides are the active ingredients of the herb Dendrobium nobile, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine. The pharmacological effects of alkaloids include neuroprotective effects and regulatory effects on glucose and lipid metabolism, while glycosides improve the immune system. The pharmacological activities of the above chemical components are significantly different. In practice, the stems of 3-year-old D. nobile are usually used as the main source of Dendrobii Caulis. However, it has not been reported whether this harvesting time is appropriate.

OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to compare the chemical characteristics of D. nobile in different growth years (1-3 years).

METHODS: In this study, ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q/TOF-MS) was employed to analyze the constituents of D. nobile. The relative abundance of each constituent was analyzed with multivariate statistical analyses to screen the characteristic constituents that contributed to the characterization and classification of D. nobile. Dendrobine, a component of D. nobile that is used for quality control according to the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, was assayed by gas chromatography.

RESULTS: As a result, 34 characteristic constituents (VIP > 2) were identified or tentatively identified as alkaloids and glycosides based on MS/MS data. Moreover, the content of alkaloids decreased over time, whereas the content of glycosides showed the opposite trend. The absolute quantification of dendrobine was consistent with the metabolomics results.

CONCLUSION: Our findings provide valuable information to optimize the harvest period and a reference for the clinical application of D. nobile.

Publication Title

Phytochemical Analysis

PubMed ID



This article was published in Phytochemical Analysis.

The published version is available at

Copyright © 2022 The Authors. CC BY 4.0.