The potential of metabolic fingerprinting as a tool for the modernisation of TCM preparations

Monday, 18/03/2013  |   Others  |  no comments

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Helen Sheridan, Liselotte Krenn, Renwang Jiang, Ian Sutherland, et al. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 140, Issue 3, 10 April 2012, Pages 482–491 A vast majority Chinese herbal medicines (CHM) are traditionally administered as individually prepared water decoctions (tang) which are rather complicated in practice and their dry extracts show technological problems that hamper straight production of more convenient application forms. Modernised extraction procedures may overcome these difficulties but there is lack of clinical evidence supporting their therapeutic equivalence to traditional decoctions and their quality can often not solely be attributed to the single marker compounds that are usually used for chemical extract optimisation. As demonstrated by the example of the rather simple traditional TCM formula Danggui Buxue Tang, both the chemical composition and the biological activity of extracts resulting from traditional water decoction are influenced by details of the extraction procedure and especially involve pharmacokinetic synergism based on co-extraction. Hence, a more detailed knowledge about the traditional extracts’ chemical profiles and their impact on biological activity is desirable in order to allow the development of modernised extracts that factually contain the whole range of compounds relevant for the efficacy of the traditional application. We propose that these compounds can be identified by metabolomics based on comprehensive fingerprint analysis of different extracts with known biological activity. TCM offers a huge variety of traditional products of the same botanical origin but with distinct therapeutic properties, like differentially processed drugs and special daodi qualities. Through this variety, TCM gives an ideal field for the application of metabolomic techniques aiming at the identification of active constituents.

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