Chinese medicines as a resource for liver fibrosis treatment


Chinese medicines as a resource for liver fibrosis treatment

Authors: Yibin Feng1, Kwok-Fan Cheung2, Ning Wang1, Ping Liu3, Tadashi Nagamatsu4 and Yao Tong*1

1School of Chinese Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, PR China,

2Department of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, PR China,

3Department of Cell Biology, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, PR China and

4Department of Pharmacobiology and Therapeutics, Faculty of Pharmacy, Meijo University, Japan



Liver fibrosis is a condition of abnormal proliferation of connective tissue due to various types of chronic liver injury often caused by viral infection and chemicals. Effective therapies against liver fibrosis are still limited. In this review, we focus on research on Chinese medicines against liver fibrosis in three categories, namely pure compounds, composite formulae and combination treatment using single compounds with composite formulae or conventional medicines. Action mechanisms of the anti-fibrosis Chinese medicines, clinical application, herbal adverse events and quality control are also reviewed. Evidence indicates that some Chinese medicines are clinically effective on liver fibrosis. Strict quality control such as research to identify and monitor the manufacturing of Chinese medicines enables reliable pharmacological, clinical and in-depth mechanism studies. Further experiments and clinical trials should be carried out on the platforms that conform to international standards.


Chinese medicines used to treat liver fibrosis


  •  Compounds and extracts

Around 20 compounds or extracts from Chinese medicines have been reported to have liver protective and antifibrotic effects. Various studies on their chemistry and pharmacology as well as clinical trials have been carried out to study these compounds or extracts. Table 1 summarizes those with liver protection and anti-fibrotic effects demonstrated in various research reports [13-68].

  •  Composite formulae

More than ten composite formulae for liver fibrosis have been reported [69-108]. Table 2 summarizes traditional composite formulae such as Yinchenhao Tang, Xiao Chaihu Tang, Buzhong Yiqi Tang and Renshen Yangrong Tang as well as modern formulae such as Fufang Jinsane, Danshen Taoxiong Tang, Ershen Zezhu Tang, Buqi Jianzhong Tang, Fangji Tang, Handan Ganle, Ganzhifu and Fuzheng Huayu.

  • Combination therapy

Studies [109-118] show that combination therapy improves clinical anti-fibrotic effects by using a single compound with composite formulae or Chinese medicines with conventional medicines (Table 3).



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This article is an Open Access article published in Chinese Medicine and originated from Bio Med Central.



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