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Traditional Chinese Medicine Integrated Database

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is TCMID?

Traditional Chinese Medicine Integrated Database (TCMID) is a comprehensive database to provide information and bridge the gap between Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern life sciences. We have collected information on all respects of TCM including formulae, herbs and herbal ingredients. We have also collected information for drugs, diseases which are deeply studied by modern pharmacology and biomedical sciences. We bridge the two separate sets of knowledge with drug targets or disease genes/proteins.

It is well known that Traditional Chinese Medicine and conventional medicine are based on different philosophies. but they both can treat human diseases. Their common aspect is that they all treat diseases by chemical molecules which interact with dysfunctional proteins related to the diseases. Bridging the two sets of knowledge will not only promote the modernization of Traditional Chinese Medicine, but also help researchers in conventional medicine fields to uncover potential new drugs and the mechanisms of drug interactions.

2. How TCMID is built?

In order to link TCM herb ingredients and proteins they interact with, we employ two kinds of methods. Firstly, due to the increasing efforts devoted to TCM study, a large number of bioactive compounds have already been identified and their interacting protein targets have been inferred. We have carried out text-mining to collect this kind of information. Secondly, nowadays, there are already some databases hosting information on compound-protein interactions, and some books and papers also record related information about TCM herbs and their ingredients. We have manually collected information on herbs and their ingredients, and then adopted STITCH (a database collect interactions between chemicals and proteins) to link the ingredients (compounds) to proteins.

3. What is the difference between TCMID and other Traditional Chinese Medicine websites?
  • Although there are a few databases record information on TCM, they either only contain less than 1500 herbs and less than 5000 herb ingredients or lack information about protein-compound interaction. Our TCMID contains 8159 herbs, 46914 TCM formulae, and more than 25210 herb ingredients.
  • Another highlight of TCMID is that it connects TCM formulae with proteins by using herbs and compounds as bridges. So it can be used to analyze multi-target effects of formulae and explore the potential molecular mechanisms for each formula.
  • We also link the herb ingredients to diseases (OMIM), drugs (Drugbank) together. It will provide rich information to help researchers for the drug discovery. For example, if a compound and an approved drug target the same proteins, the compound could be a most promising candidate for new drug. If a compound and a disease share the same protein, the herb which contains the compound may have some effect on this disease.
4. How to search information in TCMID?

There are six ways to query TCMID in current version

  • Prescription Query:The information of prescriptions available now is in Chinese, so user can search prescriptions by using their names in Chinese pinyin.
  • Herb Query:The herb can be queried with its name in Chinese pinyin name or English name.
  • Ingredient Query:Compound name, STITCH database ID, CAS number are all accepted for the query.
  • Disease Query:We have collected disease information from OMIM, so user can use OMIM phenotype name or phenotype ID to conduct the query.
  • Drug Query:The drug name and its Drugbank ID can be used.
  • Target Query:Any kind of protein name or Uniprot AC ID is accepted.
5. What are the five attributes an herb has?

An herb has five attributes. They are nature, taste, channel tropism, functions and indications. Nature refers to a basic characteristic based on the patient's reaction to an herb, and it has four properties: Cold, Cool, Warm, Hot; Taste indicates the actions an herb has on the human body and it includes five characters: Spicy, Sour, Sweet, Bitter, Salty; Channel tropism describes the selective therapeutic effects of an herb on a certain part of the body, and it includes twelve different organs: Heart, Liver, Spleen, Lung, Kidney, Stomach, Large intestine, Small intestine, Bladder, Gallbladder, Pericardium, Three warmer; Functions illustrate the mechanisms of an herb's therapeutic effects. For example, a common herb, "Chinese Angelica ", has the functions of "harmonizes the blood", "regulates menses" and "moistens intestines"; Indications refer to the diseases or symptoms treated by an herb. Several herbs compose a formula in the order of Master, Adviser, Soldier and Guild, while a later one in the order indicates less importance.

6. What are the data resources of encyclopedia of Traditional Chinese Medicine

The prescriptions were collected mainly through text mining from books and published articles. Information for herbs was mainly extracted from TCM-ID database and text-mining. The data field about herbal ingredients, such as name and structure, was inputted by combinging information from TCM@Taiwan, TCM-ID and text-mining methods. Information of diseases and their related proteins,drugs and their targets was retrieved from DrugBank and OMIM.