Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease with no treatment currently available to modify its progression. Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has gained attention for its unique theoretical basis and clinical effects. Many studies have reported on the clinical effects and pharmacological mechanisms of Chinese herbs in PD. However, few studies have focused on the treatment mechanisms of anti-PD TCM drugs from the perspective of TCM itself.
To elaborate the treatment mechanisms of anti-PD TCM drugs in the perspective of TCM.
We performed a literature survey using traditional books of Chinese medicine and online scientific databases including PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), and others up to July 2021.
TCM theory states that PD is caused by a dysfunction of the zang-fu organs (liver, spleen, kidney, and lung) and subsequent pathogenic factors (wind, fire, phlegm, and blood stasis). Based on the pathogenesis, removing pathogenic factors and restoring visceral function are two primary treatment principles for PD in TCM. The former includes dispelling wind, clearing heat, resolving phlegm, and promoting blood circulation, while the latter involves nourishing the liver and kidney and strengthening the spleen. The anti-PD mechanisms of the active ingredients of TCM compounds and herbs at different levels include anti-apoptosis, anti-inflammation, and anti-oxidative stress, as well as the restoration of mitochondrial function and the regulation of autophagy and neurotransmitters.
Chinese herbs and prescriptions can be used to treat PD by targeting multiple pharmacological mechanisms.

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