Chinese Material Medical - Safety, Efficacy and Modernization

| July 12, 2011 | 0 Comments | 117 views

  Chinese materia medical(CMM)has a long history and contributes a great deal to the healthy history and contributes a great deal to the health and multiplication of the Chinese nation. CMM is the natural materials and products applied to prevention and treatment for diseases, under the guidance of the theory of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Initially, single-herb remedies were used to treat diseases. As clinical experiences were accumulated, combining herbs was found to be more effective At the time of the Spring-Autumn Warring States (770-476 BC) the compound prescriptions gained popularity. The selection of the ingredients in such a prescription was based on the principle of “monarch, minister, assistant and guide? The “monarch'?being the main drug while the others play an adjuvant role. Compound prescription is still the most popular form of the Chinese herbal medicine. Currently, the composition, the preparation and the dosage of a set prescription are standardized. The standardization ensures the safety and efficacy of CMM. Three hundred and ninety eight items of set prescription and preparations are collected in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia (1995 edition).

  Safety is emphasized in the development of CMM. Properties and toxicity of a single material was described in many of the ancient literature of materia medical. Li Shizhen (1518-1593 AD), the great herbalist of Ming Dynasty, wrote the “Compendium of Materia Medical? One thousand eight hundred and ninety two items are listed, including herbs, animal materials and minerals. The description about toxic arsenolite indicated that preliminary experiments on animals were most likely carried out. The aim of preparation for CMM is to enhance efficacy. The another aim of preparation is to ensure safety, especially for some of the toxic materials. For example, the chemical structures of toxic strychnine and brucine contained in Semen Strychni can be modified by heating at230-240C for 3-4 min. So, the toxicity will be reduced greatly. Water rinsing and steaming is the popular preparation for reducing toxicity of Rhizoma Aconiti. Water refining is the right processing technique for reducing free mercury contained in cinnabaris. To ensure the safety of a prescription, attention should be paid to the possible incompatibility of drugs in a prescription, the in-compatibility with certain syndromes, the incompatibility with certain food, and the incompatibility with pregnancy. In recent years, the Chinese authorities strengthens the regulations, the modernization and the GMP for pharmaceutical enterprises producing Chinese set prescriptions. Determinations for the main composition and toxic components are the requirement in quality control. In fact, quality control has been an important aspect for modernization of CMM. For example, atomic absorption spectrometry for determination of heavy metals contained in some of the products is employed.

  One developing area in modernization of CMM is to enhance the efficacy. During the period of1991 to 1994, four hundred and eighty four papers of studies on classical prescription are published, containing 243 papers concerning pharmacodynamics. Blood stasis syndrome (BSS) is one of the most significant pathological syndromes in TCM. The approach of treatment for BSS is activating blood circulation to remove blood stasis (ABCRBS). Many of the prescriptions used by Zhang Zhongjing(Han Dynasty)have the function of ABCRBS. Wang Qingren of Qing Dynasty was a specialist in ABCRBS. His prescriptions, especially Xuefu Zhuoyu Tang (decoction for removing blood stasis in the chest)and Buyang Huanwu Tang(decoction for reinforcing Yang), appear in many of the recent experimental and clinical studies. The efficacy of the prescriptions is illustrated by parameters in hemorheology, microcirculation and hematology. The effectiveness of ABCRBS is demonstrated by clinical treatment of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, gynecological, diabetes and other trails.

  Researches on CMM are involved in the difficult topics of cancer and AIDS Beneficial effects of releasing symptom, reducing toxicity of some of the western medicines and prolonging life are demonstrated. In recent years, international studies reveals that aspirin is insensitive in prevention of shear-induced platelet aggregation (SIPA), while small dose of aspirin is still the routine remedy for antithrombosis. Recent pharmacological studies show that ligustrazine, a component contained in one of the ABCRBS herbs, inhibits SIPA significantly.

  Based on the safety and efficacy of CMM, we are making every endeavor to promote CMM to be a part of the integrated world medicine for all in the coming 21st century.

  By Liao Fulong(lnstitute of Chinese Material Medical ,China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing, 100700 )


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