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J Integr Med. 2013 Jul;11(4):233-40. doi: 10.3736/jintegrmed2013037.

Research advances on the usage of traditional Chinese medicine for neuroprotection in glaucoma.

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Department of Ophthalmology, the First Affiliated Hospital, Jinan University, Guangzhou 510630, Guangdong Province, China; E-mail:


Progressive loss of retinal ganglion cells (RGCs) and their axons is the main pathogenesis of glaucoma. The cause of glaucoma is not fully understood, but the neurodegeneration of glaucoma involves many mechanisms such as oxidative stress, glutamate toxicity and ischemia/reperfusion insult. In order to target these mechanisms, multiple neuroprotective interventions have been investigated to prevent the death of RGCs. Of note are some tonic herbs from the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) pharmacopeia that have shown neuroprotective effects in glaucoma. TCM differs from Western medicine in that TCM exhibits complicated bioactive components, triggering many signaling pathways and extensive actions on vital organs. Modern scientific approaches have demonstrated some of their underlying mechanisms. In this review, we used Lycium barbarum and Ginkgo biloba as examples to elaborate the characteristics of TCM and their potential applications in neuroprotection in glaucoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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