Botanical drugs in Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine

J Ethnopharmacol. 2016 Dec 24:194:245-259. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.06.052. Epub 2016 Jul 7.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: China and India have a long history in the therapeutic application of botanical drugs in traditional medicine. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Ayurveda are considered as two of the most ancient systems of medicine, with history of more than two millennia. Medicinal plants are the principal medicinal materials used in both these systems.

Aim of the review: This review discusses about the histories of Ayurveda and TCM, the common medicinal plants species, the drug processing strategies used, and the current statuses of these traditional systems of medicine (TSM). Through the views presented in this article, we aim to provide a new perspective to herbal drug researchers for expanding and improving the utilization of botanical drugs and their therapeutic applications.

Methods: A bibliographic investigation of Chinese and Indian pharmacopoeias, monographs and official websites was performed. Furthermore, information was obtained from scientific databases on ethnobotany and ethno medicines.

Results: The review of Ayurveda and TCM ethno medicine indicates that both these systems have many medicinal materials in common. The studies carried out by the authors for comparison of plants from same genus from both these TSM's have been discussed to further bring focus to the utilization of "qualitatively" similar species which can be utilized and substituted for endangered or economically valued species. The overview of ancient literature and scientific findings for drugs in both these systems suggests that, the botanical drugs used in common and their processing methods can be explored further for extensive utilization in traditional medicine.

Conclusion: This review describes the histories, common medicinal plant species, their processing methods and therapeutic applications in Ayurveda and TCM. The insights provided through this article may be used by herbal drug researchers and pharmacologists for further exploration of botanical drugs from these two traditional systems of medicine.

Keywords: Aconitine (PubChem CID: 245005); Artemisinine (PubChem CID: 68827); Ayurveda; Ethnomedicine; Huperzine A (PubChem CID: 854026); Hypaconitine (PubChem CID: 441737); Mesaconitine (PubChem CID: 441747); Nootkatone (PubChem CID: 1268142); Protodioscin (PubChem CID: 441891); Quinine (PubChem CID: 3034034); Raceanisodamine (PubChem CID: 71711121); Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Medicine, Ayurvedic*
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional*