Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) is one of the most established systems of medicine in the world. The therapeutic formulae used in TCM are frequently derived from aqueous decoctions of single plants or complex multicomponent formulae. There are aspects of plant cultivation and preparation of decoction pieces that are unique to TCM. These include Daodi cultivation, which is associated with high quality medicinal plant material that is grown in a defined geographical area, and Paozhi processing where the decoction pieces can be treated with excipients and are processed, which may fundamentally change the nature of the chemical metabolites. Therefore, a single plant part, processed in a variety of different ways, can each create a unique medicine. The quality of TCM materials, their safety and therapeutic efficacy are of critical importance. The application of metabolomic and chemometric techniques to these complex and multicomponent medicines is of interest to understand the interrelationships between composition, synergy and therapeutic activity. In this chapter, we present a short history of TCM, detail the role of Daodi and Paozhi in the generation of therapeutic formulae and look at the international practices and methodologies currently in use to ensure their sustainable production, quality, safety and efficacy.
Part of the book: Plant Extracts