Drug Safety

, Volume 38, Issue 2, pp 117–128 | Cite as

Safety Surveillance of Traditional Chinese Medicine: Current and Future

  • Shwu-Huey Liu
  • Wu-Chang Chuang
  • Wing Lam
  • Zaoli Jiang
  • Yung-Chi Cheng
Leading Article


Herbal medicine, including traditional Chinese medicine, has been used for the prevention, treatment, and cure of disorders or diseases for centuries. In addition to being used directly as therapeutic agents, medicinal plants are also important sources for pharmacological drug research and development. With the increasing consumption of herbal products intended to promote better health, it is extremely important to assure the safety and quality of herbal preparations. However, under current regulation surveillance, herbal preparations may not meet expectations in safety, quality, and efficacy. The challenge is how to assure the safety and quality of herbal products for consumers. It is the responsibility of producers to minimize hazardous contamination and additives during cultivation, harvesting, handling, processing, storage, and distribution. This article reviews the current safety obstacles that have been involved in traditional Chinese herbal medicine preparations with examples of popular herbs. Approaches to improve the safety of traditional Chinese medicine are proposed.


Traditional Chinese Medicine Herbal Product Aristolochic Acid Botanical Drug Traditional Chinese Medicine Formula 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Christopher C. Chen for scientific editorial assistance with this article. This work was supported by the National Cancer Institute (Grant No. 1PO1CA154295-01A1). Yung-Chi Cheng is a fellow of the National Foundation for Cancer Research, USA.


The views expressed in this article are personal and do not reflect the official position or policies of the authors’ respective organizations.

Conflict of interest

Yung-Chi Cheng, Shwu-Huey Liu, and Zaoli Jiang are the co-inventors of PHY906 patents. Wu-Chang Chuang and Wing Lam have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shwu-Huey Liu
    • 1
  • Wu-Chang Chuang
    • 2
  • Wing Lam
    • 1
  • Zaoli Jiang
    • 1
  • Yung-Chi Cheng
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyYale University School of MedicineNew HavenUSA
  2. 2.Brion Research Institute of TaiwanNew Taipei CityTaiwan, ROC

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