It remains a challenge to establish new monographs for herbal drugs derived from multiple botanical sources. Specifically, the difficulty involves discriminating and quantifying these herbs with components whose levels vary markedly among different samples. Using
Uncaria stem with hooks as an example, a characteristic chromatogram was proposed to discriminate its five botanical origins and to quantify its characteristic components in the chromatogram. The characteristic chromatogram with respect to the components of
Uncaria stem with hooks with the five botanical origins was established using 0.02% diethylamine and acetonitrile as the mobile phase. The total analysis time was 50 min and the detection wavelength was 245 nm. Using the same chromatogram parameters, the single standard to determine multicomponents method was validated to simultaneously quantify nine indole alkaloids, including vincosamide, 3α-dihydrocadambine, isocorynoxeine, corynoxeine, isorhynchophylline, rhynchophylline, hirsuteine, hirsutine, and geissoschizine methyl ether. The results showed that only the
Uncaria stem with hooks from
Uncaria rhynchophylla, the most widely used in the herbal market, showed the presence of these nine alkaloids. The conversion factors were 1.27, 2.32, 0.98, 1.04, 1.00, 1.02, 1.26, 1.33, and 1.25, respectively. The limits of quantitation were lower than 700 ng/mL. The total contents of 31 batches of
Uncaria stem with hooks were in the range of 0.1 – 0.6%, except for
Uncaria hirsuta Havil and
Uncaria sinensis (Oliv.) Havil. The results also showed that the total content of indole alkaloids tended to decrease with an increase in the hook diameter. This showed that the characteristic chromatogram is practical for controlling the quality of traditional Chinese medicines with multiple botanical origins.