Objectives : This study is to propose the identification keys based on stereoscopic examination of 8 seed herbs in 2 categories (Phyllolobobii Semen (PS) with 4 Astragali Semen (AS), and 2 Lepidii seu Descurainiae Semen (LDS) with 1 Drabae Semen (DS)) which have difficulties in discrimination with visual observation. Methods : We reviewed the description of original plants and their medicinal parts from the literature. The original plants were collected, identified, confirmed as specimens, and compared to the samples distributed in the market. The first identification was made by visual observation, and insufficient points were supplemented by stereoscopic observation. Identification criteria were set by considering morphological characteristics of authentic herbs, percentage of adulterants, and distinction between authentic herbs and adulterants. Results : The original plants of PS and AS could be distinguished by upright or lying form of stem, color of flowers, number of leaflets, and presence of hair of fruits. LDS and DS could be distinguished by leaf arrangement on stem: radical or cauline, whole plants size, leaf division, color of flowers, and shape of fruits. The herbal medicines of PS and AS could be distinguished by seed surface pattern, size, and hardness. LDS and DS could be distinguished by size, shape, viscosity when chewed, and degree of mucous layer formation when soaked in water. Conclusions : This study suggests the identification keys of original plants and herbal medicines. Especially, since fine seed herbs are difficult to distinguish by visual observation, the stereoscope should be applied to the discrimination.
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