Pharmacological action and mechanism of traditional Chinese medicine

[Speaker] Yongxiang Zhang:1
[Co-author] Wenxia Zhou:1, Ning Jiang:1, Xiaorui Cheng:1
1:Beijing Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology, China

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) have been long and widely used in prevention and treatment of diseases in China for thousands of years, which made a great contribution to health care of Chinese people. Prescriptions or formula are the main form of TCM and the compatibility and composition of them are made up following the theory of TCM among which the theory of compatibility is the essential part. The classical preparations of TCM, including decoction, pill, powder, ointment and pellet, etc., are prepared with traditional methods. Clinical application and modern pharmacological study both demonstrated that TCM prescription possesses unique effects in comparison with chemical drugs. However, the pharmacological study of TCM prescription is very difficult due to multiple herbs which contain complicated chemical components in the prescription. So, the key point for the pharmacological study of TCM prescription is to elucidate its integrative effects and the mechanism of action. The study in our laboratory on Liuwei Dihuang decoction (LW), a classic TCM prescription used for about 1000 years in China, is an example in elucidation of the pharmacological characteristics and mechanism of action of TCM prescription. For decades, researches were conducted with different ways and methods including holistic approaches in various experimental model animals and in vitro experiments in tissue, organ and cell models, and a lot of new technics and methods such as “omics” technologies were employed. The above system studies provided an overview of the effective mechanism of LW from the angle of neuroendocrine immunomodulation network. In addition, the bioactive components of LW and their unique combinational effects on learning and memory and immune function were also investigated. Although great advances have been achieved of TCM prescription, such as LW, to elucidate the mechanism of action of TCM are still a great challenge due to the complexity of the prescription. We believe that the pharmacological study on TCM would keep progressing and getting deeper with the rapid development of science and technology and their continuous application in this field.
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