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Planta Med. 2010 Dec;76(17):1975-86. doi: 10.1055/s-0030-1250522. Epub 2010 Nov 3.

A unique issue in the standardization of Chinese materia medica: processing.

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School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, P. R. China.


Processing of Chinese Materia Medica (CMM) is a pharmaceutical technique to fulfill the different requirements of therapy, dispensing and making preparations according to traditional Chinese medicine theory. The aims of processing are to enhance the efficacy and/or reduce the toxicity of crude drugs. Those processed products are named as decoction pieces, which are used in clinics. Therefore, there is a close relationship between processing, safety, and efficacy of Chinese medicines. Some toxicity or side effects are caused by improper processing methods and some are due to improper combination of herbal mixtures. Standardization of processing methods for Chinese herbs is as important as authentication to maintain their quality and ensure their safe use. The objective of this paper is to review the literature covering the current situation and problems of CMM processing as well as recent progress in research in this area. A summary of the most urgent work needed is proposed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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