Published online Sep 9, 2014. doi: 10.5497/wjp.v3.i3.33
Revised: July 2, 2014
Accepted: July 27, 2014
Published online: September 9, 2014
Metabolomics has been widely used in the modern research of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). At the same time, the world is increasingly concerned about TCM, and many studies have been conducted to investigate different aspects of TCM. Among these studies, metabolomic approach has been implemented to facilitate TCM development. The current methods for TCM research are diverse, including nuclear magnetic resonance, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, and liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Using these techniques, some advantageous results have been obtained in the studies of TCM, such as diagnosis and treatment, quality control, and mechanisms of action. It is believed that the further development of metabolomic analytical techniques is beneficial to the modernization of TCM. This review summarizes potential applications of metabolomics in the area of TCM. Guidelines for good practice for the application of metabolomics in TCM research are also proposed, and the special role of metabolomics in TCM is highlighted.
Core tip: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been used for thousands of years to treat or prevent diseases. Actual value of TCM has not been fully recognized worldwide due to the lack of scientific approaches. Metabolomics has become a hot topic in TCM research. Metabolomics is the best method to ﬁt the holistic concept of TCM, and it can not only interpret the essence of syndrome but also elucidate the scientiﬁc connotation of prescription. This combination of TCM with metabolomics in modern health care systems may lead to a revolution in TCM therapy.