Traditional Chinese Medicine

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Properties And Indications Of Ge Gen In Traditional Chinese Medicine

In traditional Chinese medicine, properties of herbs are described in terms of temperature and taste characteristics. There are five temperature properties (warm, cold, hot, cool and neutral) and five basic tastes (sour, sweet, bitter, pungent and salty). These properties do not necessarily refer to the literal meanings of these designations but reflect their functions and therapeutic indications. Hot diseases must be cooled, cold diseases must be warmed. Thus, an herb able to cure heat or warm symptoms is of cool or cold property, and an herb for cold symptoms has a hot or warm property. The tastes are correlated with their functions. Pungent herbs disperse exopathogens from superficies and facilitates the move of Qi and blood sweet herbs nourish, replenish, tonify and harmonize bitter herbs clear heat and fire, send down adverse flow of Qi and dry dampness sour herbs arrest discharges salty herbs purge and soften hard mass (Zhu, 1998). Ge Gen is an herb with pungent and cold...

Traditional Chinese Medicine

A large population in South East Asia has used TCM for thousands of years, and it is still practised in parallel with western medicine in the healthcare system in China owing to its unique theoretical basis and proven therapeutic efficacy. The theory and practise of TCM is complex and space does not permit a detailed consideration here however, a brief account is given below in order to help the reader appreciate the use of Artemisia species in TCM. The underlying principle of TCM lies in the comprehensive and dynamic application of the theories of Yin-Yang and the Five Elements. Everything in the universe is considered to have the opposite but inter-related aspects, Yin and Yang. When the Yin and Yang are balanced in a human body, the person is in a healthy condition, not only less susceptible to diseases, but also likely to have a better quality of life conversely, illness is the result of an imbalance of Yin and Yang in the body. The aim of treatment in TCM is always to restore the...

Other Species Of Artemisia Used In Traditional Chinese Medicine

More than ten Artemisia species are used in TCM for certain gynaecological problems. According to the theory of TCM, a number of conditions, such as amenorrhea, menstrual pain and prolonged menstrual bleeding, are usually related to Qi (vital energy) and blood deficiency, Qi stagnation or blood stasis due to cold. Thus those herbs with the acrid and warm property can be used to treat such ailments with a good clinical response and various species of Artemisia which have the same property are often the principal ingredients of TCM formulae for the illnesses mentioned above (Table 1). Along with acupuncture, the application of moxibution is used in TCM. It is carried out by applying an ignited moxa cone or moxa stick on the acu-points to elicit heat stimulation. It exerts an effect by warming and regulating the channels, promoting the circulation of Qi and blood. Moxibustion is often combined with acupuncture for the treatment and prevention of many diseases including pain relief and...

Preface to the Series

The medicinal traditions of ancient civilizations such as those of China and India have a large armamentarium of plants in their pharmacopoeias which are used throughout Southeast Asia. A similar situation exists in Africa and South America. Thus, a very high percentage of the world's population relies on medicinal and aromatic plants for their medicine. Western medicine is also responding. Already in Germany all medical practitioners have to pass an examination in phytotherapy before being allowed to practice. It is noticeable that medical, pharmacy, and health-related schools throughout Europe and the United States are increasingly offering training in phytotherapy.

Immunopharmacology and inflammation

A23187-induced pleurisy in mice was used to investigate the anti-inflammatory effect of magnolol, isolated from Chinese medicine Hou p'u (cortex of Magnolia officinalis). A23187-induced protein leakage was reduced by magnolol (10 mg kg, i.p.), indome-thacin (10 mg kg, i.p.) and BW755C (30 mg kg, i.p.). The inhibitory effect is proposed to be, at least partly, dependent on the reduction of the formation of eicosanoid mediators at the inflammatory site (Wang et al., 1992, 1995).

Qing Haoan Antimalarial Herb

A herb, named Qing Hao (usually pronounced ching how) in Chinese, sweet Annie or sweet wormwood in English, and properly known as Artemisia annua L. has become well known in western countries during the last 20 years. Herbal companies, which deal with traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), receive several inquiries concerning this herb every day. A question commonly asked by those about to travel to Africa or S.E. Asia is Can I take the herb called Qing Hao to prevent malaria during my trip Unfortunately, the answer has disappointed many people because although this herb is used for the treatment of malaria in TCM, usually combined with other herbs, it is not recommended for the prevention of the disease or as a deterrent to mosquitoes. However, the leaves of Qing Hao were burned as a fumigant insecticide to kill mosquitoes in ancient China but this practice no longer continues today since the development and marketing of more efficient mosquito-repellant devices.

The Discovery Of Artemisinin

In 1967, the Chinese government began a systematic examination of plant species used in TCM in order to discover new drugs, especially for malaria. The many plants tested included Qing Hao, but no activity was seen when hot-water extracts of this herb were tested in mice infected with the rodent malaria parasite Plasmodium berghei. However, when cold ether extracts of Qing Hao were tested, encouraging activity was observed (Klayman, 1985). The discovery of a new potent antimalarial from a TCM herb was so significant that it attracted great attention from the World Health Organsation and a number of research establishments around the world. Although artemisinin has been syn-thesised by a few research groups in several countries, the high cost made synthetic artemisinin an uneconomic choice for large-scale production of the drug so that it is extracted from its natural source (see chapter 12). Consequently, many taxonomy-orientated scientists started screening dozens of other Artemisia...

Quality Control Of Medicinal Ge

Contents of trace elements in different species of Ge also exhibit qualitative and quantitative differences (Table 15.4). For instance, Zn, Cu, Mg, Ca, Sr, Cr contents found in P. lobata are much higher than those in P. thomsonii (Zeng and Zhang, 1996). Despite such differences, the root of both P. lobata and P. thomsonii are considered authentic species used in TCM in Chinese Pharmacopeia. Although P. omeiensis, P. montana and P. edulis are also used for medicinal purposes, they are considered more local and used mainly in areas where they are harvested. In this context, it is important to point out that species differences in chemical constituents are consistent with the fact that they are used for the treatment of different or slightly different disease states (Table 15.5). It is also important to emphasize that not all species of the genus Pueraria are safe for human consumption. For example, P. peduneularis, also known as bitter Ge to the locals, is toxic and used only for the...

Evaluation HPLC method validation

Honokiol and magnolol were purchased from National Institute for the Control of Pharmaceutical and Biological Products, Beijing China. M. officinalis Rehd. et Wils bark was purchased at a TCM Pharmacy in Xian, China and identified by TLC. M. obovata bark was a gift from Professor Yuji Maruyama, Gunma University, Japan.

Role of phytochemicals in healthcare system

Medicinal plants are a significant source of synthetic and herbal drugs in India and China and have been on the forefront when one refers to phyto drugs. The traditional systems of medicines Ayurveda, Siddha, Unani, Western Herbal Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Homeopathy have roots in medicinal herbs. A number of distinguished researchers have

Zheng 1996 In Medicinal Plants

Antioxidant and hepatoprotective effects of Anoectochilus formosanus and Gynostemma pentaphyllum. American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 28, Yeung Him-Che. 1985. Handbook of Chinese Herbs and Formulas. Institute of Chinese Medicine, Los Angeles. Zheng C, Feng G, and Liang H. 2000. Bletilla striata as a vascular embolizing agent in interventional treatment of primary hepatic carcinoma. Chinese Medicine Journal. 111, 1060-3.

Analysis Of Bitter Aloes

The dried exudate of a number of Aloe species has been described in ancient documents and has been an article of commerce in Europe for centuries (Haller, 1990). Aloe vera (L.) Burm.f. seems to have been known to the ancient Egyptians and described in detail by Dioscorides (c. 78 A.D.) (Reynolds, 1966). Aloeperryi Baker was valued by Alexander the Great (fourth century B.C.) (Hodge, 1953 Crosswhite and Crosswhite, 1984). Aloe ferox Miller was known somewhat later (Reynolds, 1950) following exploration of the Cape (early eighteenth century A.D.). Aloe arborescens Miller, prized as an ornamental, is better known medically in Asia, especially Japan, where it is known as Kidachi-aroe (Yagi, this volume, Chapter 14). In addition, many local species unknown to western medicine are used locally in Africa as part of indigenous folk medicine (Morton, 1961 Watt and Breyer-Brandwigk, 1962 Bruce, 1975).

Lichens in folk and traditional medicine

'Doctrine of Signatures' written in the 15th century stated Aplant could treat a disease it most looked like. This formed the basis of phytotherapeutics in traditional systems of medicines like Traditional Indian Medicine (TIM) or Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and Western Medical Herbalism. Interestingly , the word lichen is derived from the Greek word 'Leprous' and refers to use of lichens in treating skin diseases due to their peeling-skin appearance. Lichen like Lobaria pulmonaria (L.) Hoffm. (Stictacea) and Parmelia sulcata Taylor (Parmeliaceae) have been used in the treatment of pulmonary and cranial diseases, respectively. Similarly, Xanthoria parietina (L.) Th. Fries (Lobariaceae), being yellow, was used to cure jaundice. Usnea sp. are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), homeopathic system of medicine and traditional medicine in Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Usnea sp. are valued for demulcent properties and finds use for mild inflammation of the oral...

Ikuko Kimura Leonara R Pancho and Hiroshi Tsuneki

Chinese Medicine Plants

Ginger rhizomes have been widely used as a cooking spice and herbal remedy to treat a variety of conditions. Fresh and dried gingers are used for different clinical purposes in traditional Chinese medicine (Kampo). Fresh ginger (Zingiberis Recens Rhizoma Sheng Jiang in Chinese Shoga in Japanese) is used as antiemetic, antitussive, or expectorant, and is used to induce perspiration and dispel cold, whereas dried ginger (Zingiberis Rhizoma Gan Jiang in Chinese) is used for stomachache, vomiting, and diarrhea accompanied by cold extremities and faint pulse (Bensky and Gamble, 1986). Dried ginger, either simply dried in the shade (Gan Sheng Jiang, or simply Gan Jiang in Chinese Shokyo in Japanese) or processed ones that are heated in pans or with hot sand (Rhizoma Zingiberis Preparata Pao Jiang in Chinese) are often used in China. The simply dried ginger and the processed ginger are not clearly differentiated in clinical use. On the other hand, different types of dried gingers have been...

Synergy in relation to the pharmacological action of phytomedicines

Some of the most popular and widely used phytomedicines are those consisting of St. John's wort, Echinacea, ginkgo, garlic, kava, and valerian, which have considerable pharmacological and clinical evidence to support their use, and synergy is generally assumed to play a part in their medicinal effects (Table 5.5). Attempts are rarely made to isolate a single constituent from these extracts. In Traditional Indian Medicine (Ayurveda), Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Western Medical Herbalism, the combination of herbs are fundamental to their philosophy as well as being due to empirical observations and historical usage. As an example, pharmaceuticals containing ephedrine, atropine, and menthol, are rarely considered as phytomedicines, despite being derived from plant sources. Modern herbal medicines are usually found as whole or semi-purified extracts and ideally should be standardized for their active constituents wherever possible to ensure clinical reproducibility.

Scope of medicinal phytochemistry

Medicinal phytochemistry seems to be an interdisciplinary subject. For a well-trained medicinal phytochemist, knowledge of subjects like medicinal or pharmaceutical botany, anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacognosy, ethnopharmacology, chemical ecology, conventional phytochemistry, toxicology, traditional systems of medicine (Ayurveda, Siddha, Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, and Unani), clinical research and biostatistics are prerequisites. While several complementary and alternative systems of medicine are in practice, the Traditional Chinese System (TCM) has made tremendous progress regarding the application of phytochemistry in medicine.

Quantifying Amenity Benefits in Monetary Terms

The methods used in estimating non-priced benefits of forests include the contingent valuation method (CVM), the hedonic pricing method (HPM), and the travel cost method (TCM). Furthermore, approaches such as tree pricing and environmental benefit valuation have been applied in assessing urban forest benefits (Tyrvainen 1999). The methods have different abilities to capture different benefits (Table 4.2). For example, hedonic pricing mainly captures recreational and aesthetic benefits of green areas, whereas environmental benefit valuation focuses on air quality and the energy saving function of trees.

Important Poisonous Compounds Found in Plants and Mushrooms

Like alkaloids, many glycosides have important medicinal properties. Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), for example, produces digitalis and related compounds. These are cardioactive glycosides affecting the functioning of the heart. Foxglove has been used with great care as an herbal remedy by knowledgeable practitioners for centuries. In Western medicine, digitalis and its chemical relatives digoxin and digitoxin have wide application as drugs to help regulate heart function and treat heart-related illnesses. The same glycosides in foxglove that make it a useful medicine, however, can be deadly in the wrong dosage.

Factors Threatening Species

Overharvesting of plants, often for food, medicinal purposes, or by horticulturists, threatens 10 percent of the endangered plant species of the United States. A notable example is ginseng, an herb used in Asian medicine, which has been so overharvested throughout its range that only a small number of plants remain. Many rare wildflowers, such as orchids, have been so severely overcollected by gardeners that they are in danger of extinction in the wild. Information on the location of the last remaining plants is often kept secret to prevent the theft of these individuals.

Artemisia Annua In Chinese Traditional Medicine

Yeung (1985), in a short monograph on Qing Hao gives A. apiacea Hance as a synonym for A. annua and describes the taste and property of the herb as bitter, pungent and cold. Its functions are antimalarial, to reduce the heat caused by deficiency of Yin, and to clear the summer heat. The medicinal uses of Qing Hao are given as malaria, febrile diseases, tidal fever, low grade fever and summer heat stroke. Although Qing Hao may be used as a cooling herb for the relief of symptoms, TCM places great emphasis on treating the underlying cause of an illness and as explained above, diagnosis is often much more precise than it is in western medicine. This helps to explain why complex combinations of Chinese herbs are used additional herbs (which may be referred to as minister, assistant or guide herbs are added to the principal (or emperor herb) in order to complement or modify its action so that the TCM prescription is tailored for the needs of the individual patient. An example of a...

Series Preface

The medicinal traditions of ancient civilizations such as those of China and India have a large armamenoaria of plants in their pharmacopoeias that are used throughout southeast Asia. A similar situation exists in Africa and South America. Thus, a very high percentage of the world's population relies on medicinal and aromatic plants for their medicine. Western medicine is also responding. Already in Germany all medical practitioners have to pass an examination in phytotherapy before being allowed to practice. It is noticeable that throughout Europe and the U.S.A., medical, pharmacy, and health-related schools are increasingly offering training in phytotherapy.

The editor

Wing Ming Keung, Ph.D., graduated from The Chinese University of Hong Kong in 1972 with a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry. He then obtained his Master's degree at the same institution and his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado in 1980. He spent one year as a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and then returned to The Chinese University of Hong Kong as a lecturer of biochemistry. In 1987, he rejoined Harvard Medical School's Center for Biochemical and Biophysical Sciences and Medicine as a Senior Research Scientist and has since led the Center's alcohol research program in search of the underlying mechanism that controls regulates alcohol drinking and novel pharmacological treatments for alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Dr Keung has presented numerous lectures at national and international meetings including the Nobel Symposium at Karolinska Institute and the European Society on Biochemical Research on Alcoholism. He is author of more than...

Herbal Medicines

Medicinal herbs were once the mainstays of all medicine and include plants that range from edible to extremely toxic. Every culture has developed its own herbal pharmacopeia, with herbs taken as teas or tinctures, smoked, or applied to the body as poultices or powders. While much of the world still depends on herbal-based medicine, western medical practitioners rely mainly on synthetic drugs. Some of these are synthetic copies of the active compounds found in older herbal remedies, while others are more effective chemicals modeled on these naturally occurring compounds. At least thirty herbal drugs still remain important in western medicine. Some are obtained directly from plants, such as digitoxin from the woolly foxglove (Digitalis lanata), which is used to treat congestive heart failure, while others are the result of refinement and manipulation of plant products, including oral contraceptives from yams (Dioscorea species). Recent years have seen

Folk Recipes

Just like allopathic and homeopathic medicine, the traditional herbal system uses a special combination of plants to treat diseases. Different plants have different chemicals that can have different results on different organisms. The proper quantity and quality of these plants must be consumed in order to get positive results otherwise, either no results or some mishap can occur. That is why local people are always in search of authentic recipes. Today a lot of people are using the traditional system for example, in China, traditional Chinese medicine is relied upon for nontoxicity, and most Chinese people avoid allopathic or other systems. In the Lesser Himalayas, local inhabitants use medicinal plants in different ways, s in the forms of decoctions, extracts, powders, pastes, or juices. The mode of application for these plants is topical as well as oral. Different recipes used by the indigenous people of the Lesser Himalayas have been developed from time immemorial through...

Cinchona Rubiaceae

One of the major diseases of humankind has been and continues to be malaria. The most effective agent used to battle malaria entered Western medicine, ironically, through the agency of the Spanish conquest of South America. One of the features of some of the native peoples of South America was a sophisticated pharmacopoeia that included the bark of a tree from Peru used to combat fever. The bark of the fever tree, as the early explorers named it, appeared in Europe in the first half of the seventeenth century (Agosta, 1996). The plant was brought to the attention of Linnaeus who provided the generic name by which it remains known, Cinchona. Agosta (1996) tells the story of how this particular name, actually misspelled, came to be chosen by Linnaeus Eventually, studies of the active principles of the plant resulted in the discovery of quinine 166 and a number of related compounds, such as quinidine 167 , cinchonine 168 , and cinchonidine 169 (see Fig. 2.43 for structures 166-169)....


Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms are sometimes referred to as Ling Chih or Ling Zhi. The medicinal use of this mushroom is detailed in the Chinese pharmacopoeia of the first century BC.30 Reishi was highly valued even at this time and had the most medical applications of all medicines in the pharmacopoeia. The very slow growth of reishi, along with its scarcity in the wild, made the mushroom highly prized. Recently, however, it has been cultivated successfully and is now widely available. Reishi's native habitats include decaying logs and plant matter near coastal areas. The mushroom comes in several different colors, with the red one most frequently used in Asia and North America. Traditional Chinese medicine uses of reishi included treating fatigue, weakness, insomnia, asthma, and coughs.31 Despite a long history of medical use, research on reishi's many health benefits was not able to be conducted


Ge, Ge Gen in particular, is one of the most ancient and popular medicinal materials used in TCM. Recent pharmacological and clinical studies have validated, at least to the satisfaction of The Ministry of Health in China, its efficacies in the treatment of traditional diseases claimed in TCM and its newly discovered efficacies in the treatment of cardiovascular, cerebrovascular diseases and diabetes. Significant progresses have been made in the understanding of the molecular mechanism underlying Ge Gen's therapeutic activities (See Chapter 5, 7, 9, 10 and 13, this volume) yet more work needed to be done. Results from more stringent, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trials are needed to convince modern treatment communities, especially health care providers practicing conventional medicine, that Ge Gen-based medications are safe and effective in the treatment of human diseases. Dietary isoflavones have been shown to have beneficial effects in preventing cardiovascular and a...


Quality control of Magnolia bark and its preparation involves two major concerns establishment of product specification, and testing the sample to make sure it matches the product specification. Japanese native M. obovata was officially accepted as the genuine species in Japan before the Chinese native M. officinalis Rehd. et Wils and M. offlcinals var. biloba Rehd. et Wils were added to the pharmacopoeia in 1996. Generally M. officinalis has a higher content of magnolol and honokiol than the Japanese native M. obovata. The pharmacopoeia's specifications and its testing methods are changeable, they are updated every five years to reflect the availability of new scientific data. The content of magnolol and honokiol of M. officinalis, according to the reviewed articles, varied about 10 times, which indicates the variation in quality of the tested samples. The M. officinalis we purchased from a TCM pharmacy in China contained about 2.1 of total magnolol and honokiol, which is below the...

Oriental Medicine

G. wilfordii, or 'Lao-kuan-tsao' is used in Chinese medicine to treat chronic rheumatism, often steeped in wine and taken orally, either alone or in combination with other antirheumatic drugs. Erodium stephanium, also known as 'Lao Guan Cao', is considered interchangeable and used in a similar way (Pei-gen, 1989). The closely related Meadow Cranesbill, G. pratense ('Cao Yuan Lao Guan Cao') is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat acute bacillary dysentery (Yau et al, 1999). G. nepalense is used in a similar manner to G. thunberghii, which is sometimes considered a variety of it (Perry, 1980).

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