Innovations in the Manufacturing of TCM Concentrated Granules


Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has evolved significantly over the centuries, with modern manufacturing techniques enhancing the efficacy and convenience of herbal treatments. Concentrated granules, a popular form of TCM, benefit from advanced technologies, stringent quality control measures, and the strategic use of excipients.

Advances in Manufacturing Technologies


Spray Drying

Spray drying is a widely used technique in the pharmaceutical industry for creating amorphous, soluble forms of active ingredients. In TCM, this method involves rapidly spraying a solution of dissolved polymer and active ingredients, trapping the active components in an amorphous form within the polymer carrier. This process ensures the stability and solubility of the granules, making them more effective and easier to absorb by the body.

Fluid-Bed Granulation

Fluid-bed granulation is another critical technology in the production of TCM granules. This process involves spraying a binder solution onto a fluidized bed of powder particles, causing them to stick together and form granules. This method is particularly beneficial for creating uniform granules with consistent size and composition, which are essential for ensuring dosage accuracy and product stability.

Quality Control Measures and Standards

Quality control is paramount in the production of TCM granules to ensure safety, efficacy, and consistency. Several standards and measures are implemented to achieve this:
Process Analytical Technology (PAT): PAT tools monitor critical quality attributes (CQAs) of raw materials and excipients in real time during the granulation process. This real-time feedback allows for immediate adjustments to ensure the quality of the final product.
ISO Standards: The ISO 23419:2021 standard specifies general requirements for manufacturing procedures and quality assurance of TCM granules. This includes guidelines for safety, consistency, and efficacy, ensuring that products meet international standards.
HPLC Fingerprinting: High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is used to evaluate the chemical consistency between different batches of TCM granules. This technique ensures that each batch contains the same active ingredients in the correct proportions, maintaining therapeutic efficacy.

Role of Excipients in Stabilizing Granules

Excipients play a crucial role in the stability and effectiveness of TCM granules. They help in transforming concentrated herbal extracts into stable, dry granules and prevent clumping and degradation. Common excipients used in TCM granules include:
Maltodextrin: A food-safe polysaccharide used to stabilize the product and adjust the concentration ratio. It helps prevent moisture absorption and clumping, ensuring the granules remain free-flowing and easy to handle.
Cornstarch: Often used in fluid-bed granulation, cornstarch acts as a binder and stabilizer. However, it is essential to use non-GMO and gluten-free cornstarch to avoid potential health risks.
Mineral Excipients: Minerals like talci pulvis are used for their medicinal properties, such as diuresis and detoxification. However, their content and purity must be strictly controlled to avoid toxic accumulation.

Additional Innovations and Considerations



Nanotechnology has been applied to TCM to create nano-sized particles of herbal medicines. This innovation enhances the bioavailability and targeted delivery of active ingredients, reducing adverse reactions and improving therapeutic outcomes. For example, wet ball milling can produce nanoparticles that increase the antimicrobial activity of herbal extracts.

Continuous and Intelligent Production

The shift from traditional intermittent production to continuous and intelligent manufacturing processes has improved the efficiency and quality of TCM granules. Automated systems and advanced monitoring technologies ensure consistent production conditions, reducing the risk of contamination and variability.

The manufacturing of TCM concentrated granules has seen significant advancements through the adoption of modern technologies like spray drying and fluid-bed granulation. Stringent quality control measures and the strategic use of excipients ensure the stability, safety, and efficacy of these products. As TCM continues to modernize, these innovations will play a crucial role in making traditional remedies more accessible and effective for contemporary healthcare needs.