Prescription of Chinese Herbal Medicine in Pattern-Based Traditional Chinese Medicine Treatment for Depression: A Systematic Review

Wing Fai Yeung, Ka Fai Chung, Ka Yan Ng, Yee Man Yu, Shi Ping Zhang, Bacon Fung Leung Ng, Eric Tat Chi Ziea

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) treatments are often prescribed based on individuals' pattern diagnoses. A systematic review of randomized controlled trials in Chinese and English literatures on TCM pattern-based treatment for depression has therefore been conducted. A total of 61 studies, 2504 subjects, and 27 TCM patterns were included. Due to the large variation of TCM pattern among participants, we only analyzed the top four commonly studied TCM patterns: liver qi depression, liver depression and spleen deficiency, dual deficiency of the heart, and spleen and liver depression and qi stagnation. We found that Xiaoyao decoction was the most frequently used herbal formula for the treatment of liver qi depression and liver depression with spleen deficiency, while Chaihu Shugan decoction was often used for liver depression and qi stagnation. Bai Shao (Paeonia lactiflora Pall.) and Chai Hu (Bupleurum chinense DC.) were commonly used across different TCM patterns regardless of the prescribed Chinese herbal formulas. The rationale underlying herb selection was seldom provided. Due to the limited number of studies on TCM pattern-based treatment of depression and their low methodological quality, we are unable to draw any conclusion regarding which herbal formulas have higher efficacy and which TCM patterns respond better to CHM.
Original languageEnglish
Article number160189
JournalEvidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Complementary and alternative medicine

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