A PRD (Pearl River Delta) Chinese Medicines Comprehensive Joint Research Program

  Albert B. Wong, Ph.D.,  MCMIA

Short URL:


A Proposal Outline


This outline proposes that the members of the PRD region should join forces in contributing funds and talents to resolve the problems due to the inadequacy of scientific knowledge on Chinese medicine (CM) herbs. Once this body of CM herbal knowledge is established, the entire region will benefit from it in terms of growths in CM economy, healthcare, science, talents and prestige.

Program Mission: To collect and verify scientific information on 200 commonly used Chinese medicine herbs through systematic research and datamining for the purpose of compiling a compendium containing meaningful knowledge of the herbs to enable the development and determinations of standards, methodologies, authentication techniques, pharmacological functions and new drug/formulation discovery leads for CM.

The Problems this Program will Help Solve: Prior to this century, due to their complexity in composition and the lack of scientific techniques, herbs have been very difficult to characterize, much less to ascertain their functions. This lack of basic knowledge on CM has hampered its quality assurance and stymied its development.

However, advents of advanced and powerful instruments and techniques in recent years have enabled scientists in the botanical fields to investigate and determine the properties of herbs very effectively and efficiently. For the first time, one can characterize rather comprehensively the various properties of herbs in much shorter times. The applications of these technologies will help solve the hitherto difficult problems such as authentications, standard setting, bioactivity determinations and the collection of other useful knowledge on the herbs. Once this body of knowledge is generated, collected and compiled for easy access, scientists, companies and research institutes will have the tools to establish herbal product quality and to develop new CM products/formulations.

If this program is large enough, it can sustain and procure a generation of new scientists whose talents could then be used to conduct innovative research and to create novel products for the CM field. Chinese medicine will hence become modernized fostering the emergence of a scientific CM industry. The days of buying CM herbs of unknown quality and functionality would become a thing in the past.

Program Description: This program calls for the pooling of the financial and scientific resources from Southern China’s 5 administration districts (Guangdong, Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, ZhuHai) to support a broad, intensive and in-dept investigation of 200 frequently used CM herbs so that a wealth of knowledge could be generated for the purpose of setting standards and developing new products for cut herbs飲片, extracts提取物, granules顆粒 and proprietary products成藥. The program could build on top of Department of Health’s HK Standards and JCICM’s Chemical Markers Program, with the scope and details of these 2 research programs much more broadly expanded.