Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci 2022; 26 (15): 5553-5561

DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202208_29426

Antimicrobial mechanisms of traditional Chinese medicine and reversal of drug resistance: a narrative review

B.-G. Liu, M. Xie, Y. Dong, H. Wu, D.-D. He, G.-Z. Hu, E.-P. Xu

Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Henan University of Chinese Medicine, Zhengzhou, China. liubaoguang83@sina.com


OBJECTIVE: In recent years, the extensive use of antibiotics worldwide has led to an increase in the number of drug-resistant bacterial strains, thus resulting in an increasingly severe degree of bacterial resistance. For thousands of years, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has provided natural and unique advantages in the treatment of infectious diseases. Therefore, it is important to develop further and use TCM to treat clinical infections caused by drug-resistant bacteria.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A literature search was performed using PubMed, Web of Science, Google Scholar, and the China National Knowledge Infrastructure databases. The articles were analyzed to extract information on the antimicrobial effects of Chinese herbal medicines, compounded Chinese medicines, monomeric compounds of herbal origin, and the combined use of Chinese medicine and antimicrobial drugs and to determine the synergistic effect of the combination of Chinese medicine and antibiotics, as well as investigate the possibility of restoring the antibiotic sensitivity of drug-resistant strains.

RESULTS: The mechanisms underlying the antibacterial properties of TCM involve altering membrane permeability, inhibiting protein and nucleic acid synthesis, inhibiting enzyme activity in vivo, and controlling the ability of pathogenic bacteria. In addition, the mechanism underlying TCM-induced reversal of bacterial drug resistance is discussed, particularly in terms of the elimination of resistant (R) plasmids and the inhibition of extended-spectrum β-lactamases, bacterial biofilm formation, and bacterial efflux pump activity.

CONCLUSIONS: This paper reviewed the recent relevant literature on antimicrobial action and its mechanisms, as well as the mechanisms of drug resistance reversal by TCM to provide a reference for clinical drug use, prevention and control of bacterial infection, and research and development of new drugs.

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To cite this article

B.-G. Liu, M. Xie, Y. Dong, H. Wu, D.-D. He, G.-Z. Hu, E.-P. Xu
Antimicrobial mechanisms of traditional Chinese medicine and reversal of drug resistance: a narrative review

Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci
Year: 2022
Vol. 26 - N. 15
Pages: 5553-5561
DOI: 10.26355/eurrev_202208_29426