In this study, researchers from Australia and China investigated whether the extraction methods used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) are capable of delivering molecules with drug-like physical and chemical properties. Their findings were published in the Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines.
TCM is an important reservoir for natural products with useful biological properties.
TCM extraction methods, which involve either water decoction or wine tincture, are an integral part of TCM and are considered essential for their widely acknowledged efficacy.
For their experiment, the researchers selected six common TCMs that are known for their abundance of bioactive components.
They obtained different extracts from these herbs using water or 95 percent ethanol as solvents, followed by sequential extractions with hexane, dichloromethane and methanol.
They analyzed the extracts using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR).
The researchers reported that they were able to isolate a total of 32 compounds from one of the extracts.
They analyzed the physical and chemical properties of the compounds using the software Instant JChem.
The researchers concluded that ethanol extraction, which mimics the TCM wine tincture method, can successfully deliver compounds with physical and chemical properties that comply with Lipinski's rule of five (i.e., compounds with therapeutic potential).
Miao WG, Tang C, Ye Y, Quinn RJ, Feng Y. TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE EXTRACTION METHOD BY ETHANOL DELIVERS DRUG-LIKE MOLECULES. Chinese Journal of Natural Medicines. September 2019;17(9):713–720. DOI: 10.1016/s1875-5364(19)30086-x