Bringing science and development together through news and analysis

  • Traditional Chinese medicine under the microscope


Chinese scientists are preparing to begin a 15-year project to screen the constituents of traditional Chinese medicines (TCMs).

The 'Herbalome Project' will use high throughput screening, toxicity tests and clinical trials to identify active ingredients and contaminants in known TCMs — of which there are as many as 400,000 combinations of 10,000 herbs and animal extracts.

The researchers hope the project will modernise the field, lead to better quality control and improve the reported downsides of TCM: uneven efficacy and quality, and harsh side effects. It could also identify potential drugs for Western medicine.

The scientists are already developing new methods of separating the various components of TCMs into 'multicomponents' — groups of similar ingredients. They also plan to devise 'Herbalome chips', with which compounds are tested for their ability to bind to certain peptides.

Link to full article in Science

We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.