Traditional Chinese medicine for Parkinson's disease: a review of Chinese literature

Behav Pharmacol. 2006 Sep;17(5-6):403-10. doi: 10.1097/00008877-200609000-00006.


Occidental medicine has a given definition for Parkinson's disease and knowledge of Parkinson's disease pathophysiology has led to development of its therapeutic management. Parkinson's disease, however, is likely to have always existed in different parts of the world. Description and management of this neurodegenerative condition could be found in ancient medical systems. Here, we introduce the philosophical concepts of traditional Chinese medicine and the description, classification and understanding of parkinsonian symptoms in traditional Chinese medicine. We have conducted an in-depth review of Chinese literature reporting anti-parkinsonian and anti-dyskinetic efficacy of more than 60 traditional medicines in Parkinson's disease patients. A number of issues, however, plague the relevance of these reports and call for a scientific re-evaluation of these therapies in preclinical models of Parkinson's disease before proposing traditional Chinese medicine-based symptomatic treatment of Parkinson's disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antiparkinson Agents / adverse effects
  • Antiparkinson Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / adverse effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / drug therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antiparkinson Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal