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October 2021

J AOAC Int. 1997 Sep-Oct; 80(5): 1023-8.

Liquid chromatographic determination of safrole in sassafras-derived herbal products.

Carlson M, Thompson RD.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Minneapolis, MN 55401, USA.

A liquid chromatographic (LC) method was developed for determining safrole in herbal products derived from sassafras (Sassafras albidum), as well as related compounds such as isosafrole and dihydrosafrole. The procedure involves solvent extraction and isolation of analyte by reversed-phase LC with UV detection at 235 nm. Safrole is resolved from related compounds and other sample constituents including thymol, a component of thyme. A linear concentration range of 0.003-0.200 mg/mL was obtained for safrole, isosafrole, and dihydrosafrole. Limits of detection (LOD) and quantitation (LOQ) were e0.0015 and 0.0051 micrograms/mL for safrole, 0.0018 and 0.0061 micrograms/mL for isosafrole, and 0.0038 and 0.0125 micrograms/mL for dihydrosafrole, respectively. Intraday relative standard deviations (RSDs) for safrole (n = 5) from various samples ranged from 1.30 to 5.39% at analyte levels of 0.01-1.5%. Safrole contents of 26 samples including root bark powder, leaves, oils, tea concentrate, herbal extract tinctures, and herbal powder capsules ranged from < LOD for most leaf samples to 92.4% for an oil. Recoveries of safrole from fortified samples ranged from 83.6% for an oil to 117.2% for a tincture preparation. Safrole contents of 0.09-4.66 mg/cup were found for brewed teas prepared from sassafras root bark powders and tinctures.


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