Integrating ancient and modern approaches to traditional Chinese medicinal authentication

Zhongzhen Zhao*, Hubiao CHEN, Ping GUO, Zhitao Liang, Eric Brand, Lailai Wong, Jing Liu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Authentication is a key component of quality control, and the quality of Chinese medicinal materials directly impacts clinical efficacy. Chinese medicinal quality control is an important concern of the wider community, and it is intricately connected to the future and development of Chinese medicine. Macroscopic identification has been used for thousands of years in Chinese medicine, and it continues to be effective for resolving important issues related to quality control in the modern-day. However,new challenges have emerged for macroscopic identification. For example, new botanical varieties have emerged, with differences in macroscopic features related to cultivated vs. wild materials. Changes in processing methods and cultivation techniques also affect these features. Consequently, continual progress and innovation in Chinese medicinal authentication methods are needed. Macroscopic identification is based on organoleptic assessment, microscopy, and research of ancient texts, such as the Bencao. In addition to collecting information from traditional experience-based differentiation, innovation can take advantage of new technologies that can provide even more detailed, precise information about morphology. In the present review, we summarized inheritance and innovation in the scientific exposition of Chinese medicinal authentication, featuring a review of specialized publications, description of the establishment of a Chinese medicine specimen center and Chinese Medicine digital project, the expansion of authentication technologies, and the formation of a cultural project dedicated to the Compendium of Materia Medica.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-914
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Chinese Pharmaceutical Sciences
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 30 Dec 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Pharmaceutical Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bencao
  • Chinese medicinal authentication
  • Macro-/microscopic identification
  • Traditional Chinese medicinal cultural promotion


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