Approaching Traditional Chinese Medicine: Inheritance and Exploration
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is a treasure house for human beings; it has been used in China for thousands of years and has contributed greatly to the growth and thriving of the Chinese Nation. TCM is not simply equal to Natural medicine; it is a collection of natural resources, Chinese culture, historical experience and modern research. Why is there only little success in searching for New Chemical Entity (NCE) from TCM since the last century? Apart from history and culture, not based on clinical practices, ignorance of water-soluble components probably is the answer.
Compared to Western drugs, TCM have some unique advantages, i.e. a rich array of proven medicinal species, remedies and clinical practices, tailor-made medications, guidance by Chinese medical theory, human centered and low cost. But TCM also possess some disadvantages, i.e. too far from modern sciences, no databases, less coordination and cooperation, poor standardization, and formulation types not accepted, which all need to be solved to ensure further development.
Now a very challenging topic for modernization of TCM is how to transfer its character of Experience based Service to a Knowledge based Economy? In order to eventually build up an international business discipline, there is a chain process including many stages from the production of genuine medicinal species (GAP), finding effective recipes (GLP/GCP), quality control and scientific manufacture (GMP) until global sales network (GSP) can be formed. At the same time, it also opens huge business opportunities for start-up companies searching for new leads from TCM with the injection of modern sciences such as pharmaco-genomics, molecular and cell biology, chemical biology, neuroscience, information science and synthetic organic chemistry.
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