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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 6373270, 7 pages
Research Article

The Common Prescription Patterns Based on the Hierarchical Clustering of Herb-Pairs Efficacies

Department of Information Technology, Beijing Forestry University, Beijing 100083, China

Received 27 November 2015; Revised 25 January 2016; Accepted 16 March 2016

Academic Editor: Lixing Lao

Copyright © 2016 Jia Cao. 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.


Prescription patterns are rules or regularities used to generate, recognize, or judge a prescription. Most of existing studies focused on the specific prescription patterns for diverse diseases or syndromes, while little attention was paid to the common patterns, which reflect the global view of the regularities of prescriptions. In this paper, we designed a method CPPM to find the common prescription patterns. The CPPM is based on the hierarchical clustering of herb-pair efficacies (HPEs). Firstly, HPEs were hierarchically clustered; secondly, the individual herbs are labeled by the HPEC (the clusters of HPEs); and then the prescription patterns were extracted from the combinations of HPEC; finally the common patterns are recognized statistically. The results showed that HPEs have hierarchical clustering structure. When the clustering level is 2 and the HPEs were classified into two clusters, the common prescription patterns are obvious. Among 332 candidate prescriptions, 319 prescriptions follow the common patterns. The description of the patterns is that if a prescription contains the herbs of the cluster (), it is very likely to have other herbs of another cluster (); while a prescription has the herbs of , it may have no herbs of . Finally, we discussed that the common patterns are mathematically coincident with the Blood-Qi theory.