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China has launched a herbal medicine gene database this month in a bid to decode the mysterious effect of traditional Chinese medicine, according to the Chinese news agency Xinhua.

The project — hailed as “the world’s largest native compound gene database” — will identify more than 5,000 effective elements of traditional Chinese medicine.

Although the Chinese have used plant and animal extracts to treat diseases for thousands of years, it is only within the past century that scholars of herbal medicine have started to examine the active ingredients in these treatments.

The database will help researchers to isolate the effective elements of traditional Chinese medicines and explain how they work.

Reference: Xinhua News Agency

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