Chinese Medical Sciences Journal ›› 2023, Vol. 38 ›› Issue (3): 218-227.doi: 10.24920/004214

• Original Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Analysis of Medication Rules of Traditional Chinese Medicine for Malaria Treatment Based on Data Mining

Wen-Long Guo1, *(), Hui-Juan Jiang1, Yan-Rong Li2, Jin-Long Yang1   

  1. 1Science Teaching Department, Gansu University of Chinese Medicine, Dingxi 743000, Gansu Province, China
    2Medical Teaching Department, Gansu University of Chinese Medicine, Dingxi 743000, Gansu Province, China
  • Received:2023-02-13 Accepted:2023-06-06 Published:2023-09-30 Online:2023-06-28
  • Contact: * E-mail:
Malaria remains a global public health problem and continues to spread worldwide. This paper analyzes the prescription for malaria by drug statistics, constructs complex networks and cluster analysis to get the core drugs for malaria, and applies the Apriori algorithm to analyze the association rules to get the core drug pairs and drug combinations for malaria.

Objective To analyze the medication rules of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for malaria treatment.
Methods Statistical analysis was conducted on the basic attributes of TCM drugs with regard to property, therapeutic methods, flavor, and meridian tropism. A complex network of TCM drug associations was constructed. Cluster analysis was applied to obtain the core drugs for malaria treatment. The Apriori algorithm was applied to analyze the association rules of these core drugs.
Results A total of 357 herbs were used 3,194 times in 461 prescriptions for malaria treatment. Radix Glycyrrhizae (甘草), Rhizoma Pinelliae (半夏), Radix Bupleuri (柴胡), and Radix Dichroae (常山) were the frequently used herbs through supplementing, exterior-releasing, heat-clearing, qi-rectifying, and damp-resolving therapeutic methods. Such herbs had warm, natural, and cold herbal properties; pungent, bitter, and sweet flavors; and spleen, lung, and stomach meridian tropisms. Cluster analysis showed 61 core drugs, including Radix Glycyrrhizae, Rhizoma Pinelliae, Radix Bupleuri, and Radix Scutellariae (黄芩). Apriori association rule analysis yielded 12 binomial rules (herb pairs) and 6 trinomial rules (herb combinations). Radix Bupleuri plus Radix Scutellariae was the core herbal pair for treating malaria. This pair could be combined with Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae (白术) for treating warm or cold malaria, combined with Pericarpium Citri Reticulatae (陈皮) or Radix Dichroae (地黄) for treating miasmic malaria, or combined with turtle shells (鳖甲) for treating malaria with splenomegaly.
Conclusions TCM can be used to classify and treat malaria in accordance with the different stages of development. As the core herbal pair, Radix Bupleuri and Radix Scutellariae can be combined with other drugs to treat malaria with different syndrome types.

Key words: malaria, data mining, complex network, cluster analysis, medication rules


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