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Medicinal Plant Names Services

Enabling effective communication in health, regulation and research.

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Kew’s Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) has built a global resource for medicinal plant names that enables health professionals and researchers to access information about plants and plant products relevant to pharmacological research, health regulation, traditional medicine and functional foods. 

This MPNS resource has enabled us to develop a suite of information services tailored to the needs of these audiences. Representatives from key audiences advise us on the services we offer and the types of data included in the resource. The full suite of services are described on the “Services” page.

Search the MPNS resource (Version 2)

Why is MPNS needed?

Organisations and individuals often use different names for the same plant. Professionals working in the health and research sectors, for example, as well as those in  the herbal or pharmaceutical industries, all need to access information about plants and communicate accurately and effectively about them.

Medicinal plants are used globally and are known by different names in different communities, health traditions, generations and languages. The same name can also be applied to different species. Thus to find all the information published about a particular plant, and to ensure that you are sharing data about the same species, you need to know all the possible names that have been used, and any possible confusions.

Who does MPNS help?

MPNS is an essential resource for the following audiences:

  • health professionals
  • scientific and health research communities
  • regulators in health, trade and conservation
  • pharmaceutical and herbal industries
  • traditional medicine practitioners
  • publishers and journal editors
  • those managing plant information resources
  • general public

What does MPNS offer?

MPNS offers novel information services based upon the MPNS resource.

  • an online portal enables you to search the MPNS resource using a scientific, pharmaceutical, common or trade name, and find all the plants that the name may refer to, their current taxonomy and other names by which that plant is known in the medicinal plant literature
  • validation and enrichment of your list of plant names, suggesting corrections, and providing current accepted names and full synonymy
  • mapping your list of plant names to those used by other organisations or publications
  • download of reference lists for use in your own database system
  • training as to best practice either when using or recording medicinal plant names or when constructing IT systems to contain such names
  • machine to machine services allowing other databases to access MPNS

Get involved

Medicinal Plant Names Services is looking for interested organisations and individuals to join the User Group or work with us as Partners.

Find out more

Download a copy of our leaflet to find our more about the MPNS project:

MPNS leaflet May 2015

Contact us

For further information about any aspect of Medicinal Plant Names Services, please contact us at:

Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS)
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew


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