Author(s): Liu H, Wang J, Zhou W, Wang Y, Yang L
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Abstract ETHNOPHARMACOLOGICAL RELEVANCE: Licorice, one of the oldest and most popular herbal medicines in the world, has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine as a cough reliever, anti-inflammatory, anti-anabrosis, immunomodulatory, anti-platelet, antiviral (hepatitis) and detoxifying agent. Licorice was used as an example to show drug discovery from herbal drugs using systems approaches and polypharmacology. AIM OF THE STUDY: Herbal medicines are becoming more mainstream in clinical practice and show value in treating and preventing diseases. However, due to its extreme complexity both in chemical components and mechanisms of action, deep understanding of botanical drugs is still difficult. Thus, a comprehensive systems approach which could identify active ingredients and their targets in the crude drugs and more importantly, understand the biological basis for the pharmacological properties of herbal medicines is necessary. MATERIALS AND METHODS: In this study, a novel systems pharmacology model that integrates oral bioavailability screening, drug-likeness evaluation, blood-brain barrier permeation, target identification and network analysis has been established to investigate the herbal medicines. RESULTS: The comprehensive systems approach effectively identified 73 bioactive components from licorice and 91 potential targets for this medicinal herb. These 91 targets are closely associated with a series of diseases of respiratory system, cardiovascular system, and gastrointestinal system, etc. These targets are further mapped to drug-target and drug-target-disease networks to elucidate the mechanism of this herbal medicine. CONCLUSION: This work provides a novel in silico strategy for investigation of the botanical drugs containing a huge number of components, which has been demonstrated by the well-studied licorice case. This attempt should be helpful for understanding definite mechanisms of action for herbal medicines and discovery of new drugs from plants. Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Ethnopharmacol
and referenced in Journal of Bioequivalence & Bioavailability