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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 4305074, 10 pages
Review Article

Substitutes for Bear Bile for the Treatment of Liver Diseases: Research Progress and Future Perspective

School of Chinese Medicine, Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong

Received 20 January 2016; Accepted 3 March 2016

Academic Editor: Siyaram Pandey

Copyright © 2016 Sha Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Bear bile has been a well-known Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Because of the endangered species protection, the concept on substitutes for bear bile was proposed decades ago. Based on their chemical composition and pharmacologic actions, artificial bear bile, bile from other animals, synthetic compounds, and medicinal plants may be the promising candidates to replace bear bile for the similar therapeutic purpose. Accumulating research evidence has indicated that these potential substitutes for bear bile have displayed the same therapeutic effects as bear bile. However, stopping the use of bear bile is a challenging task. In this review, we extensively searched PubMed and CNKI for literatures, focusing on comparative studies between bear bile and its substitutes for the treatment of liver diseases. Recent research progress in potential substitutes for bear bile in the last decade is summarized, and a strategy for the use of substitutes for bear bile is discussed carefully.