How do you identify the active medicinal ingredients in the plant?

There has already been some work done in that area and the results have been published. And because cow cockle is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, there has been some work done on some of the constituents, particularly in Japan and China. So we have some background on some of the specific compounds and chemical structures have been established for some of them.

Our interest was to take a look at plants that actually grew in the Prairies, obtain some plants that had been grown elsewhere in the world, extract some of these chemicals and see how they differed from each other, see which components had already been identified and which had not. We could then do some fractionation to obtain various compounds with which to do bioassays - that is, test them for various purposes in collaboration with other researchers.
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