J Ethnopharmacol. 1980 Mar; 2(1): 57-63.
Some current study and research approaches relating to the use of plants in the traditional Chinese medicine.
Chinese medicine has for over two thousand years established the value of many plants used for healing. The survey of traditional and herbal medicine has been the object of investigation in all regions of China by an interdisciplinary commission. A herbarium with 50 000 specimens was collected, of which 4676 has been identified and from which The Chinese Materia Medica was compiled in four volumes and published. Thorough pharmacological and clinical experimentation on the drugs and plants used in traditional medicine is in progress in order to establish their effectiveness and safety. This work has been followed by chemical isolation and characterization of the active principles of the plants. Standardization of the drugs has also been done in order to avoid altered efficacy. As an example of the chemical work done in this study, the analysis of two plants is reported: Pueraria lobata (Ge-gen), which contains an isoflavonoid glycoside with hypotensive effects, with excellent clinical results in the treatment of hypertension; and Anisodus tanguticus, which contains anisodamine, or 6-hydroxy hyoscyamine, which proved to be similar in effect to atropine but milder in action on the CNS.