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Curr Opin Drug Discov Devel. 2010 Jan;13(1):50-65.

Interactions between traditional Chinese medicines and Western therapeutics.

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Emiliem Inc, Emeryville, CA 94608, USA.


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is a holistic approach to health that attempts to bring the body, mind and spirit into harmony. TCM is an essential part of the healthcare system in several Asian countries, and is considered a complementary or alternative medical system in most Western countries. An integration of the traditional Chinese and Western systems of medicine has begun in multiple medical centers internationally, and there is increasing evidence that several herbs and combinations of herbs used in TCM impart important pharmacological effects. The number of databases and compilations of herbs, herbal formulations, phytochemical constituents and molecular targets is increasing, primarily because of the widespread use of TCM in combination with Western drugs. The continued popularity of herbal remedies worldwide suggests that evidence-based research in this field, as well as information regarding the potential efficacy and safety of phytochemical constituents in herbs and TCM formulations, are essential, particularly when TCM is used in combination with other drugs. Herb-drug interactions are similar to drug-drug interactions in terms of their effects on ADME properties. Improvements in the knowledge of the molecular targets and metabolic pathways, as well as of the synergistic and inhibitory effects associated with important phytochemicals from herbs and herbal formulations, will lead to the development of rational approaches for the safe combination of healthcare systems from different cultures.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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