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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2016, Article ID 8958721, 18 pages
Review Article

Therapeutic Effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine on Spinal Cord Injury: A Promising Supplementary Treatment in Future

1Translational Medicine Center, Hong Hui Hospital, Xi’an Jiaotong University College of Medicine, Xi’an 710054, China
2Department of Spine Surgery, Hong Hui Hospital, Xi’an Jiaotong University College of Medicine, Xi’an, China

Received 6 January 2016; Accepted 22 February 2016

Academic Editor: Khalid Rahman

Copyright © 2016 Qian Zhang 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.


Objective. Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a devastating neurological disorder caused by trauma. Pathophysiological events occurring after SCI include acute, subacute, and chronic phases, while complex mechanisms are comprised. As an abundant source of natural drugs, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) attracts much attention in SCI treatment recently. Hence, this review provides an overview of pathophysiology of SCI and TCM application in its therapy. Methods. Information was collected from articles published in peer-reviewed journals via electronic search (PubMed, SciFinder, Google Scholar, Web of Science, and CNKI), as well as from master’s dissertations, doctoral dissertations, and Chinese Pharmacopoeia. Results. Both active ingredients and herbs could exert prevention and treatment against SCI, which is linked to antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, or antiapoptosis effects. The detailed information of six active natural ingredients (i.e., curcumin, resveratrol, epigallocatechin gallate, ligustrazine, quercitrin, and puerarin) and five commonly used herbs (i.e., Danshen, Ginkgo, Ginseng, Notoginseng, and Astragali Radix) was elucidated and summarized. Conclusions. As an important supplementary treatment, TCM may provide benefits in repair of injured spinal cord. With a general consensus that future clinical approaches will be diversified and a combination of multiple strategies, TCM is likely to attract greater attention in SCI treatment.