Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 647–652 | Cite as

Exploring traditional chinese medicine by a novel therapeutic concept of network target

  • Shao Li (李 梢)
Feature Article


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) holds a holistic theory, and specializes in balancing disordered human body using numerous natural products, particularly Chinese herbal formulae. TCM has certain treatment advantages for patients suffering from various complex diseases. However, due to the complex nature of TCM, it remains difficult to unveil such holistic medicine by the current reductionism research strategies, which treat both herbal ingredients and targets in isolation. Recently, an emerging network pharmacology approach has been introduced to tackle this bottleneck problem. A TCM-derived novel therapeutic concept, "network target", which is different from the Western medicine's "onetarget" concept, has been proposed from China. The network target strategy is able to illustrate the complex interactions among the biological systems, drugs, and complex diseases from a network perspective, and thus provides an innovative approach to access ancient remedies in a precision manner and at a systematic level, which also highlights TCM's potential in current medical systems.


traditional Chinese medicine network target network pharmacology herbal formula complex disease 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of Education Key Laboratory of Bioinformatics and Bioinformatics Division, Tsinghua National Laboratory for Information Science and Technology/Department of AutomationTsinghua UniversityBeijingChina

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