New database underway for Chinese herbal-drug interactions

L-to-R: Dr Phoebe Zhou, NICM Project Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Associate Chun Guang Li, NICM Project Lead, Professor Alan Bensoussan, NICM Director, Peter de Lorenzo, CEO UnityHealth, and Miriam Ronagh, Senior Product Manager UnityHealth

NICM researchers in partnership with UnityHealth (opens in a new window) will develop and disseminate objective evidence-based information on Chinese herb-drug interactions as part of UnityHealth's award winning Integrative Medicine Gateway (opens in a new window) (IMgateway) service.

A global innovative health information, education and technology company, UnityHealth developed IMgateway over the last 18 years to provide point of care information on western herb-drug / nutritional supplement interactions to help address the needs of time-poor clinicians and healthcare practitioners, research centres, hospitals, corporations, pharmaceutical companies and community groups.

IMgateway focuses on evidence-based complementary medicine information and education services on a range of medical conditions, herbs, supplements and drug interactions (adverse or positive).

The expansion of the database to include Chinese herb-drug /nutritional supplement interactions will help provide safe and reliable information to clinicians of Chinese medicine, western medicine, pharmacists, nurses and other allied health practitioners. A consumer database with information in plain language will also be developed. The databases will be available in English and Chinese and intended for use internationally.

NICM project lead, Associate Professor Chun Guang Li says there are currently 45 commonly used Chinese herbs listed in the database, with the next phase of the research to focus on Chinese herbal medicines used by practitioners and over the counter pharmacy products, including the commonly used Chinese herbs and formulas in TCM clinics, and herbal products used by other allied health practitioners.

“The goal is to prioritise the Chinese herbs researched according to the most commonly used and formulated Chinese herbs for product consumed by the public - we are looking to have 100 herb-drug interaction summaries, monographs, by the end of the project,” said Associate Professor Li.