Research: PARK and colleagues,

Listed in Issue 91


PARK and colleagues, Department of Complementary Medicine, School of Postgraduate Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Exeter, UK,, have reviewed (52 references) the nomenclature of Chinese medical formulae.


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been modified to some extent in other Asian countries such as Korea and Japan. Researchers in different countries seem to use different English names for the same TCM formula. Lack of knowledge of the Chinese characters is destined to increase this confusion.


All investigations of TCM published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine were evaluated. PubMed was searched for TCM publications.


54 TCM formulae were identified in 45 reports published in AJCM. 32 were named in Chinese only (23 reports); 6 in Japanese (6 reports); 5 in Korean (5 reports). 10 formulae were named in Japanese with Chinese names in brackets (10 reports); and one in Chinese with the Japanese name in brackets.


By computerized literature search, different numbers of research papers were retrieved using keywords differentiated by language, location and number of hyphens. Such confusion may prevent progress in the evaluation of TCM. In order to increase the efficiency of studies on TCM, standardization of formulae is required.


Park J, Park HJ, Lee HJ, Ernst E. What's in a name? A systematic review of the nomenclature of Chinese medical formulae. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 30 (2-3): 419-427, 2002.

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