The collection of the Hortus botanicus Leiden is mainly concentrated on plants from Asia, including a number of plants from China.
On this page we selected 30 plants which are important in the Traditional Chinese Medicine.
TCM method of healing has been used in China for thousands of years.
An important difference with Western medicine is that in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) the human body, spirit, and its energy are regarded as a whole, and are treated as such.
A patient may be cured with a specific mixture of several herbs, suited individually to her or his person and condition. As in the West, there are also many standard mixtures and medicines available.
The selection of the plant species is the result of a close cooperation between the
Hortus, the LU-European Center for Chinese Medicine and Natural Compounds of the Institute of Biology (Faculty of Science, Leiden University), and the Institute of Chinese Materia Medica (China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences) in Bejing. Naturally, scientists in East and West are interested in the active compounds present in these plant species. Our present cooperation will result in the chemical analysis and DNA-barcoding of many plants in the Hortus.
Our Chinese partners already provided us with DNA barcodes of the thirty plants in this guide. DNA barcoding is a molecular technique in species identification by using a standard, short region of DNA. The colour barcode below is converted from the ITS2 barcode sequence of Ginkgo biloba, different colours represent different nucleotides:
green: A(denine), red: T(hymine), blue C(ytosine), black: G(uanine).
Additionally, you can easily get the DNA sequence by scanning the provided QR code.