Science and health information analytics business Elsevier has collaborated with Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) to create a new taxonomy for traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) in its biomedical literature database, Embase.

Over six months, BUCM will review terms and assist in building a detailed taxonomy that will enhance Elsevier’s existing content and make it easily discoverable to those looking to leverage different clinical practices for modern biomedical sciences.

According to the firm, while the interest of pharmaceutical companies in the $121bn-worth TCM market is growing, research into traditional practices could face certain modern challenges.

Even though the majority of the TCM literature and information has been digitised in relational databases and text documents, Elsevier noted that indexing, searching and retrieving specific evidence is still found to be challenging.

“We can provide our customers with more successful outcomes and a deeper understanding of the evidence behind how TCM complements conventional medicine to improve prospects for patients.”

Under the alliance with BUCM, the company intends to address such hurdles by structuring the different branches of TCM to facilitate search for any traditional Chinese medicines and find linked results.

Elsevier Life Science Solutions managing director Cameron Ross said: “The trend in the use of traditional and complementary medicine is growing globally, and as a result, the volume of published resources into this field is increasing at a rate of around 6% per year, with more than 10,000 scholarly research or review articles published in 2017 alone.

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“By enabling this discovery and analysis of integrated health and medical research, we can provide our customers with more successful outcomes and a deeper understanding of the evidence behind how TCM complements conventional medicine to improve prospects for patients.”