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Chinese Herbal Formulas

Traditional Chinese herbal therapy can be characterized by the use of a large number of multi-herb formulae. To provide modern and Western scientists without knowledge of Chinese literature and cultural background easy access to information, a database with a total of 11 810 traditional Chinese herbal formulae was constructed. All the information was then translated into understandable scientific terms in English. While coining the formula titles in English, we discovered some principles governing the naming of titles by using computer analysis. In addition, we observed that about 92% of the formulae are in the range of single-herb formulae to thirteen-herb formulae. Most large number-herb formulae are formulated by combining pre-existing smaller number-herb formulae. The King herbs (An external file that holds a picture, illustration, etc.
Object name is neh019-inl-01.jpg) with major therapeutic activity in a multi-herb formula were identified by the formulation concept using two parameters: the herbal dose and the herbal drug property (the degree of toxicity). Based on such analytical data, we established an English code system representing all formula titles written in ideographic Chinese characters: an array of important key words such as ‘Herbal name in Latin + Efficacy (Target organs) + Preparation form + Number of herbs.’ By searching the English version of the database with any of the above key words, a variety of information on the status of traditional Chinese herbal therapy can be accessed.


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