Use of traditional Chinese medicine in patients with hyperlipidemia: A population-based study in Taiwan

J Ethnopharmacol. 2015 Jun 20:168:129-35. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.03.047. Epub 2015 Mar 28.


Ethno-pharmacological relevance: Chinese herbal products (CHPs) are commonly used in patients with hyperlipidemia in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). Because hyperlipidemia and related disease are common issues worldwide, this study analyzed the prescription patterns and frequencies of CHPs for treating patients with hyperlipidemia in Taiwan.

Background: Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has become popular as a therapy for controlling symptoms in patients with hyperlipidemia. This study aimed to analyze the prescription patterns of TCM for patients with hyperlipidemia in Taiwan.

Methods: The study population was recruited from a random-sampled cohort of 1,000,000 people from the National Health Insurance Research Database between 2003 and 2009. We identified 30,784 outpatient visits related with hyperlipidemia diagnosis and collected these medical records. Association rules of data mining were conducted to explore the co-prescription patterns for Chinese herbal products (CHPs).

Results: The most commonly prescribed herbal formula for hyperlipidemia treatment was Xue-Fu-Zhu-Yu-Tang (16.1%), and Shan Zha (Crataegi fructus; 25.0%) was the most commonly prescribed single herb. The most commonly prescribed combination of an herbal formula and a single herb was Xue-Fu-Zhu-Yu-Tang and Dan Shen (Radix Salviae Miltiorrhizae), and the most commonly prescribed combination of couplet herbs was Dan Shen and Shan Zha.

Conclusion: Xue-Fu-Zhu-Yu-Tang is the most frequently prescribed formula and is typically prescribed with Shan Zha, Dan Shen, and He Shou Wu for patients with hyperlipidemia. Clinical trials are warranted in future research to investigate the effects of the CHPs in terms of safety and efficacy and in particular to evaluate potential interactions with conventional treatments.

Keywords: Chinese herbal products; Hyperin (PubChem CID: 5281643); Hyperlipidemia; NHIRD; Prescription pattern; Traditional chinese medicine; Triterpenic acids (PubChem CID: 451674); Ursolic acid (PubChem CID: 64945).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Databases, Factual
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians'
  • Taiwan


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal