Data Sources for Herbal and Traditional Medicines

HSUEH-FEN JUANa

department of Life Science, Institute of Molecular & Cellular Biology, Institute of Biomedical electronics & Bioinformatics, Genome and systems Biology Degree program, Center for systems Biology, national Taiwan university, No. 1, section 4, Roosevelt Rd., Da'an District, Taipei 10617, Taiwan

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Introduction

traditional herbal medicines are naturally occurring, plant-derived substances with minimal or no industrial processing that have been used to treat illness within local or regional healing practices.1 Chinese herbs are important components of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which has been used for thousands of years as a major preventive and therapeutic strategy against disease.2 Currently, more than 3200 species of medicinal plants are used as TCM.2 a fundamental feature of TCM is compound formulas, which are composed of many kinds of herbs and sometimes minerals or animal components, similar to a cocktail therapy.3 each TCM compound formula is usually designed to combat specific symptoms and combined with other herbs or prescriptions tailored to individual needs. herbal extracts have been investigated for use in treating various diseases and have been used as a complementary or alternative form of medical therapy for cancer patients.4-6

Issues in Toxicology No. 31

Computational Systems Pharmacology and Toxicology Edited by Dale E. Johnson and Rudy J. Richardson © The Royal Society of Chemistry 2017 Published by the Royal Society of Chemistry, www.rsc.org

In other studies that focus on chronic kidney disease,7 neurodegenerative disease,8 and diabetes mellitus,9 Chinese herbs have been reported to alleviate symptoms and mediate signal transduction. The Nobel prize in physiology or Medicine 2015 was award to Tu Youyou "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria". Her Nobel lecture was entitled “Artemisinin—a Gift from traditional Chinese Medicine to the World”.10 this indicates that TCM has become significant, receiving attention in health debates around the world.

systems biology, which combines computational and experimental approaches to analyze complex biological systems, focuses on understanding functional activities from a systems-wide perspective.11 With the advent of sequencing and computational methods, the application of omics data such as genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics has become a viable approach for studying the molecular mechanism and components of TCM as well as improving our knowledge of health and disease. In this chapter, I focus on introducing the TCM databases, as shown in table 10.1. additionally, I introduce the omics data in TCM.

 
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