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      Herb-Herb Combination for Therapeutic Enhancement and Advancement: Theory, Practice and Future Perspectives

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          Abstract

          Herb-herb combinations have been used in Chinese medicine practice for thousands of years, yet scientific evidence of their therapeutic benefits is lacking. With increasing interest in shifting from the one-drug-one-target paradigm to combination therapy or polypharmacy to achieve therapeutic benefits for a number of diseases, there is momentum to explore new knowledge by tapping the past empirical experiences of herb-herb combinations. This review presents an overview of the traditional concept and practice of herb-herb combination in Chinese medicine, and highlights the available scientific and clinical evidence to support the combined use of herbs. It is hoped that such information would provide a lead for developing new approaches for future therapeutic advancement and pharmaceutical product development. Very likely modern technologies combined with innovative research for the quality control of herbal products, identification of active components and understanding of the molecular mechanism, followed by well-designed animal and clinical studies would pave the way in advancing the wealth of empirical knowledge from herb-herb combination to new therapeutic modalities.

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          Most cited references 76

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          Validation of the ITS2 Region as a Novel DNA Barcode for Identifying Medicinal Plant Species

          Background The plant working group of the Consortium for the Barcode of Life recommended the two-locus combination of rbcL + matK as the plant barcode, yet the combination was shown to successfully discriminate among 907 samples from 550 species at the species level with a probability of 72%. The group admits that the two-locus barcode is far from perfect due to the low identification rate, and the search is not over. Methodology/Principal Findings Here, we compared seven candidate DNA barcodes (psbA-trnH, matK, rbcL, rpoC1, ycf5, ITS2, and ITS) from medicinal plant species. Our ranking criteria included PCR amplification efficiency, differential intra- and inter-specific divergences, and the DNA barcoding gap. Our data suggest that the second internal transcribed spacer (ITS2) of nuclear ribosomal DNA represents the most suitable region for DNA barcoding applications. Furthermore, we tested the discrimination ability of ITS2 in more than 6600 plant samples belonging to 4800 species from 753 distinct genera and found that the rate of successful identification with the ITS2 was 92.7% at the species level. Conclusions The ITS2 region can be potentially used as a standard DNA barcode to identify medicinal plants and their closely related species. We also propose that ITS2 can serve as a novel universal barcode for the identification of a broader range of plant taxa.
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            Danshen: an overview of its chemistry, pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and clinical use.

            Danshen, the dried root of Salvia miltiorrhiza, has been widely used in China and, to a lesser extent, in Japan, the United States, and other European countries for the treatment of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. In China, the specific clinical use is angina pectoris, hyperlipidemia, and acute ischemic stroke. The current review covers its traditional uses, chemical constituents, pharmacological activities, pharmacokinetics, clinical applications, and potential herb-drug interactions based on information obtained in both the English and Chinese literature. Although numerous clinical trials have demonstrated that certain Danshen products in China are effective and safe for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases, most of these lack sufficient quality. Therefore, large randomized clinical trials and further scientific research to determine its mechanism of actions will be necessary to ensure the safety, effectiveness, and better understanding of its action.
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              Antiretroviral treatment of adult HIV infection: 2012 recommendations of the International Antiviral Society-USA panel.

              New trial data and drug regimens that have become available in the last 2 years warrant an update to guidelines for antiretroviral therapy (ART) in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-infected adults in resource-rich settings. To provide current recommendations for the treatment of adult HIV infection with ART and use of laboratory-monitoring tools. Guidelines include when to start therapy and with what drugs, monitoring for response and toxic effects, special considerations in therapy, and managing antiretroviral failure. Data that had been published or presented in abstract form at scientific conferences in the past 2 years were systematically searched and reviewed by an International Antiviral Society-USA panel. The panel reviewed available evidence and formed recommendations by full panel consensus. Treatment is recommended for all adults with HIV infection; the strength of the recommendation and the quality of the evidence increase with decreasing CD4 cell count and the presence of certain concurrent conditions. Recommended initial regimens include 2 nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (tenofovir/emtricitabine or abacavir/lamivudine) plus a nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor (efavirenz), a ritonavir-boosted protease inhibitor (atazanavir or darunavir), or an integrase strand transfer inhibitor (raltegravir). Alternatives in each class are recommended for patients with or at risk of certain concurrent conditions. CD4 cell count and HIV-1 RNA level should be monitored, as should engagement in care, ART adherence, HIV drug resistance, and quality-of-care indicators. Reasons for regimen switching include virologic, immunologic, or clinical failure and drug toxicity or intolerance. Confirmed treatment failure should be addressed promptly and multiple factors considered. New recommendations for HIV patient care include offering ART to all patients regardless of CD4 cell count, changes in therapeutic options, and modifications in the timing and choice of ART in the setting of opportunistic illnesses such as cryptococcal disease and tuberculosis.
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                Author and article information

                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and WHO Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL 60612, USA
                [2 ]Center for Advancement of Drug Research and Evaluation, College of Pharmacy, Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, CA 91766, USA
                [3 ]State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau Institute for Applied Research in Medicine and Health, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, China
                Author notes
                [* ] Author to whom correspondence should be addressed; E-Mail: chect@ 123456uic.edu ; Tel.: +1-312-996-5234; Fax: +1-312-996-7107.
                Journal
                Molecules
                Molecules
                molecules
                Molecules
                MDPI
                1420-3049
                03 May 2013
                May 2013
                : 18
                : 5
                : 5125-5141
                23644978 6269890 10.3390/molecules18055125 molecules-18-05125
                © 2013 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

                This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/).

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