Network Pharmacology in Research of Chinese Medicine Formula: Methodology, Application and Prospective

  • Ting-ting Luo
  • Yuan Lu
  • Shi-kai Yan
  • Xue Xiao
  • Xiang-lu Rong
  • Jiao GuoEmail author


Chinese medicine (CM) is usually prescribed as CM formula to treat disease. The lack of effective research approach makes it difficult to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of CM formula owing to its complicated chemical compounds. Network pharmacology is increasingly applied in CM formula research in recent years, which is identified suitable for the study of CM formula. In this review, we summarized the methodology of network pharmacology, including network construction, network analysis and network verification. The aim of constructing a network is to achieve the interaction between the bioactive compounds and targets and the interaction between various targets, and then find out and validate the key nodes via network analysis and network verification. Besides, we reviewed the application in CM formula research, mainly including targets discovery, bioactive compounds screening, toxicity evaluation, mechanism research and quality control research. Finally, we proposed prospective in the future and limitations of network pharmacology, expecting to provide new strategy and thinking on study for CM formula.


network pharmacology Chinese medicine formula targets discovery mechanism research quality control research 


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Supplementary material

11655_2019_3064_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (149 kb)
Table 1. Database about CM Ingredient, Target, Pathway and Other Information
11655_2019_3064_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (96 kb)
Table 2. Some Typical Applications of Network Pharmacology in CM Formula


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Copyright information

© The Chinese Journal of Integrated Traditional and Western Medicine Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ting-ting Luo
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yuan Lu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shi-kai Yan
    • 3
  • Xue Xiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiang-lu Rong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiao Guo
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Traditional Chinese MedicineGuangdong Pharmaceutical UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Metabolic Diseases Research Center of Integrated Chinese and Western MedicineGuangzhouChina
  3. 3.School of PharmacyShanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina

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