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Pharmaceutics. 2018 Sep 12;10(3). pii: E157. doi: 10.3390/pharmaceutics10030157.

Developments in Taste-Masking Techniques for Traditional Chinese Medicines.

Author information

1
College of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. 13395830229@163.com.
2
Engineering Research Center of Modern Preparation Technology of TCM of Ministry of Education, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. 13395830229@163.com.
3
College of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. wufei_shutcm@126.com.
4
Engineering Research Center of Modern Preparation Technology of TCM of Ministry of Education, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. wufei_shutcm@126.com.
5
Engineering Research Center of Modern Preparation Technology of TCM of Ministry of Education, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. hfuir@163.com.
6
College of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. shutcmsl@163.com.
7
College of Chinese Materia Medica, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. linxiao@shutcm.edu.cn.
8
Engineering Research Center of Modern Preparation Technology of TCM of Ministry of Education, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China. shutcmfyi@163.com.

Abstract

A variety of pharmacologically active substances, including chemotherapeutic drugs and the substances from traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), always exhibit potent bioactivities after oral administration. However, their unpleasant taste (such as bitterness) and/or odor always decrease patient compliance and thus compromise their curative efficacies in clinical application. Therefore, the developments of taste-masking techniques are of great significance in improving their organoleptic properties. However, though a variety of taste-masking techniques have been successfully used to mask the unpalatable taste of chemotherapeutic drugs, their suitability for TCM substances is relatively limited. This is mainly due to the fact that the bitter ingredients existing in multicomponent TCM systems (i.e., effective fractions, single Chinese herbs, and compound preparations) are always unclear, and thus, there is lack of tailor-made taste-masking techniques to be utilized to conceal their unpleasant taste. The relevant studies are also relatively limited. As a whole, three types of taste-masking techniques are generally applied to TCM, including (i) functional masking via sweeteners, bitter blockers, and taste modifiers; (ii) physical masking via polymer film-coating or lipid barrier systems; and (iii) biochemical masking via intermolecular interaction, β-cyclodextrin inclusion, or ion-exchange resins. This review fully summarizes the results reported in this field with the purpose of providing an informative reference for relevant readers.

KEYWORDS:

bitterness; compliance; taste-masking techniques; traditional Chinese medicine

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