Biological ingredient analysis of traditional Chinese medicine preparation based on high-throughput sequencing: the story for Liuwei Dihuang Wan

Sci Rep. 2014 Jun 3;4:5147. doi: 10.1038/srep05147.


Although Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) preparations have long history with successful applications, the scientific and systematic quality assessment of TCM preparations mainly focuses on chemical constituents and is far from comprehensive. There are currently only few primitive studies on assessment of biological ingredients in TCM preparations. Here, we have proposed a method, M-TCM, for biological assessment of the quality of TCM preparations based on high-throughput sequencing and metagenomic analysis. We have tested this method on Liuwei Dihuang Wan (LDW), a TCM whose ingredients have been well-defined. Our results have shown that firstly, this method could determine the biological ingredients of LDW preparations. Secondly, the quality and stability of LDW varies significantly among different manufacturers. Thirdly, the overall quality of LDW samples is significantly affected by their biological contaminations. This novel strategy has the potential to achieve comprehensive ingredient profiling of TCM preparations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Plant / genetics*
  • Drug Contamination / prevention & control
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / analysis*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry*
  • High-Throughput Nucleotide Sequencing / methods*
  • Molecular Sequence Data


  • DNA, Plant
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • liu-wei-di-huang wan