Oriental medicine, including Chinese medicine (CM), is a complex and holistic system of medical
practice with its own philosophy, diagnosis, treatment systems, and pharmacology. CM considers
the human body in relation to its own natural, physical, and social environment. The practice of
CM involves physical therapy (nonmedication) using acupuncture, moxibustion, and related disciplines
such as:

Tuina Massage and Qi Gong,

and chemical therapy using Chinese medicinal
materials (CMM) of animal, mineral, and plant origin in the form of decoctions of combined CMM
or related proprietary products. As most of them are from plants, medical books on CMM, throughout
the ages, have conveniently referred to them as:

Ben Cao
(Herbalism) (Chan, 2005).
Herbal medicines are mixtures of more than one active ingredient. The multitude of pharmacologically
active compounds obviously increases the likelihood of interactions taking place. Hence,
the likelihood of herb–drug interactions is theoretically higher than that of drug–drug interactions,
if only because synthetic drugs usually contain single chemical entities. Case reports and clinical
studies have highlighted the existence of a number of clinically important interactions, although
cause-and-effect relationships have not always been established. 



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