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Molecules 2013, 18(5), 5125-5141; doi:10.3390/molecules18055125

Herb-Herb Combination for Therapeutic Enhancement and Advancement: Theory, Practice and Future Perspectives

1,* , 2, 2 and 3
1 Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and WHO Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA 2 Center for Advancement of Drug Research and Evaluation, College of Pharmacy, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA 3 State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau Institute for Applied Research in Medicine and Health, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, China
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 April 2013 / Revised: 25 April 2013 / Accepted: 25 April 2013 / Published: 3 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Phytochemicals: Analytical and Medicinal Chemistry)
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Herb-herb combinations have been used in Chinese medicine practice for thousands of years, yet scientific evidence of their therapeutic benefits is lacking. With increasing interest in shifting from the one-drug-one-target paradigm to combination therapy or polypharmacy to achieve therapeutic benefits for a number of diseases, there is momentum to explore new knowledge by tapping the past empirical experiences of herb-herb combinations. This review presents an overview of the traditional concept and practice of herb-herb combination in Chinese medicine, and highlights the available scientific and clinical evidence to support the combined use of herbs. It is hoped that such information would provide a lead for developing new approaches for future therapeutic advancement and pharmaceutical product development. Very likely modern technologies combined with innovative research for the quality control of herbal products, identification of active components and understanding of the molecular mechanism, followed by well-designed animal and clinical studies would pave the way in advancing the wealth of empirical knowledge from herb-herb combination to new therapeutic modalities.
Keywords: herb-herb combination; herb-herb interaction; Chinese medicine; multi-item prescription; synergy herb-herb combination; herb-herb interaction; Chinese medicine; multi-item prescription; synergy
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Che, C.-T.; Wang, Z.J.; Chow, M.S.S.; Lam, C.W.K. Herb-Herb Combination for Therapeutic Enhancement and Advancement: Theory, Practice and Future Perspectives. Molecules 2013, 18, 5125-5141.

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