Comparison of rosmarinic acid content in commercial tinctures produced from fresh and dried lemon balm (Melissa officinalis)
Purpose. To measure the rosmarinic acid content of eight commercial tinctures derived from fresh (n= 5) and dried (n=3) Melissa officinalis herb. Methods. Rosmarinic acid and the internal standard (esculin) were purchased from Aldrich Chemical Co. The column used was a Luna C18, 5 um (150 x 4.6 mm I.D., Phenomenex) maintained at ambient room temperature. The HPLC system consisted of a Shimadzu SCL-6B controller, Shimadzu LC-6A pumps, Shimadzu SPD-6A UV single wavelength spectrophotometric detector set to 320 nm and Shimadzu SIL-6B autosampler. Gradient elution of the samples and standard were performed using ammonium formate (0.02 M; pH 6.25 at 27 oC; eluent A) and methanol (eluent B). The gradient elution initial conditions were 2% of eluent B with linear gradient to 60% at 30 min, followed by linear gradient to 90% of eluent B at 31 min, this proportion being maintained for 4 min. The column was then returned to the initial condition at 36 min and maintained until the end of the run at 43 min. The flow rate was 1 mL/min. The assay was validated for sensitivity, accuracy and reproducibility. Results. The content of rosmarinic acid in commercial tinctures was significantly higher in the tinctures made from dried plant material (2.96 – 22.18 mg/mL) compared to fresh plant tinctures (<= 0.92 mg/mL). Conclusion. These results have implications both for the manufacturers of commercial tinctures and also for herbal practitioners in the choice of tinctures for treating Herpes simplex infection.