Application Research of IM Is Mainly Focused on Herbal Formulas
Herbal prescription is one of the characteristics of TCM in therapeutics, and is based on TCM syndrome differentiation. Determining the herbal formula is a key part of IM application research, since the research not only helps further clinical application, but also initiates the discovery and development of new herbal medicine products. For example, the application of an Arteannuin complex prescription can shorten the course of malaria and the fourth generation Arteannuin complex prescription (Artequick) has been developed(37).
Studies on Shengmai Powder , which has the activity of tonifying qi in TCM, have shown that the formula principle is pharmacologically based, and the composition ratio has been optimized with scientific data(38). Studies on Qingkailing Injection have clarified its active components, and different combinations of the active components can result in different pharmacological activities. A comparison between a single active component and combined components (such as baicalin and jasminoidin) showed that the activities on focal cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury were different and that the combination was more effective than each one alone(39). Recently, a study on promyelocytic leukemia treated with the Chinese medicinal formula Realgar-lndigo naturalis has made a breakthrough. The pharmacological pathways have been explored at the molecular, cellular, and organic levels(40). Since many herbal products have been used in clinical practice, it is essential to have a high level of quality control for TCM herbal products. Taking the Shengmai Injection as a target herbal product, the fingerprint platform has been developed for Shengmai Injection, and furthermore, this technique has been proposed to be used as quality control for all botanical drugs(41).
For the pharmacological evaluation of herbal products, some technical platforms have been developed. For example, the enteric mucosal immune response platform has been used for the immune regulation of herbal products, especially for herbal polysaccharides(42,43) At the same time, many studies are applying biological and chemical techniques to explore the pharmacological activities and to clarify the chemical components of single herbs, such as the metabolism regulation of Radix Astragali(44), and new chemical constituents of Radix Polygoni Multiflori after processing(45).
In addition, animal models for the TCM syndrome have been explored in recent decades. There are about 40 animal models developed for both IM basic research and pharmacological evaluation. The combination of the disease-syndrome animal model has been explored, such as the animal model of RA with Shen-deficiency syndromeS4% This type of animal model may contribute more to basic research in IM if it is fully justified in solid scientific exploration.
IM Education in China
The Academic Degrees Committee of the State Council assigned IM as one of the disciplines in biomedicine in 1980. The Hunan College of TCM compiled the first edition of IM textbooks (clinical serials) for the 7-year IM educational system in 2003. The first edition of programmed teaching materials on IM (including 16 books) was officially published in 2005. Marked by the official publication of textbooks on IM, the educational and training system for IM is now basically formed.
Until 2007 there had been 7 universities of TCM with the 7-year IM educational system, 9 medical universities and colleges with the 5-year IM educational system, 5 medical universities and colleges with the junior IM educational system, and 3 academies with the secondary technical IM educational system in China.
More than one thousand IM medical students have graduated in the past few decades. The Capital Medical University in Beijing set up the Department of IM in April, 2008. Some comprehensive universities (such as Peking University, Tsinghua University, Tongji University, Sun Yat-sen University, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Fudan University, Hongkong University, Hongkong Baptist University, The Chinese University of Hongkong,