Chinese medicinal herbs as potential prodrugs for obesity

Siu Kan LAW, Yanping WANG, Xinchen LU, Dawn Ching Tung AU, Wesley Yeuk Lung CHOW, Albert Wing Nang LEUNG, Chuanshan XU*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsReview articleOther Review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Obesity is a leading worldwide health threat with ever-growing prevalence, it promotes the incidence of various diseases, particularly cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, hypertension, and certain cancers. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has been used to control body weight and treat obesity for thousands of years, Chinese medicinal herbs provide a rich natural source of effective agents against obesity. However, some problems such as complex active ingredients, poor quality control, and unclear therapeutic mechanisms still need to be investigated and resolved. Prodrugs provide a path forward to overcome TCM deficiencies such as absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion (ADME) properties, and toxicity. This article aimed to review the possible prodrugs from various medicinal plants that demonstrate beneficial effects on obesity and seek to offer insights on prodrug design as well as a solution to the global obesity issues.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1016004
Number of pages16
JournalFrontiers in Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by Funds of Talents for High-level University in the Construction of Guangzhou Medical University (02-412-2202-2104).

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2022 Law, Wang, Lu, Au, Chow, Leung and Xu.


  • active ingredient
  • bioavailability
  • herbal medicine
  • medicinal plants
  • nanotechnology
  • obesity
  • prodrug
  • traditional Chinese medicine (TCM)


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