A novel, simple and direct fluorescence method for analysis of complex substances and their potential substitutes has been researched and developed. Measurements involved excitation and emission (EEM) fluorescence spectra of powdered, complex, medicinal herbs, Cortex Phellodendri Chinensis (CPC) and the similar Cortex Phellodendri Amurensis (CPA); these substances were compared and discriminated from each other and the potentially adulterated samples (Caulis mahoniae (CM) and David poplar bark (DPB)). Different chemometrics methods were applied for resolution of the complex spectra, and the excitation spectra were found to be the most informative; only the rank-ordering PROMETHEE method was able to classify the samples with single ingredients (CPA, CPC, CM) or those with binary mixtures (CPA/CPC, CPA/CM, CPC/CM). Interestingly, it was essential to use the geometrical analysis for interactive aid (GAIA) display for a full understanding of the classification results. However, these two methods, like the other chemometrics models, were unable to classify composite spectral matrices consisting of data from samples of single ingredients and binary mixtures; this suggested that the excitation spectra of the different samples were very similar. However, the method is useful for classification of single-ingredient samples and, separately, their binary mixtures; it may also be applied for similar classification work with other complex substances.