The aim of this study was to classify some markers of common herbs used in Western medicine according to the Biopharmaceutical Classification System (BCS). The BCS is a scientific approach to classify drug substances based upon their intestinal permeability and their solubility, at the highest single dose used, within the physiologically relevant pH ranges. Known marker components of twelve herbs were chosen from the USP Dietary Supplement Compendium Monographs. Different BCS parameters such as intestinal permeability (Peff) and solubility (Cs) were predicted using the ADMET Predictor, which is a software program to estimate biopharmaceutical relevant molecular descriptors. The dose number (D0) was calculated when information from the literature was available to identify an upper dose for individual markers. In these cases the herbs were classified according to the traditional BCS parameters using Peff and D0. When no upper dose could be determined, then the amount of a marker that is just soluble in 250 mL of water was calculated. This value, Mx, defines when a marker is changing from highly soluble to poorly soluble according to BCS criteria. This biopharmaceutically relevant value can be a useful tool for marker selection. The present study showed that a provisional BCS classification of herbs is possible but some special considerations need to be included into the classification strategy. The BCS classification can be used to choose appropriate quality control tests for products containing these markers. A provisional BCS classification of twelve common herbs and their 35 marker compounds is presented.
By Michael B Bolger