Natural Foods Merchandiser

Botanical database available online

The world's largest source of information on herbs and medicinal plant research was just made available to the public. The University of Illinois at Chicago has opened access to NAPRALERT, its database of more than 200,000 published studies.

The database, available at, contains information on more than 20,000 species of plants, animals and marine organisms. Areas of research include botanically derived natural products' effects on inflammation, cancer, pain, metabolism and much more. The team at UIC said individuals who have difficulty navigating the site can receive support by e-mailing [email protected].

NAPRALERT, an acronym for Natural Products Alert, was begun in 1975 by Norman F. Farnsworth, research professor of pharmacognosy and senior university scholar at UIC, and his colleagues, who systematically reviewed every scientific and journal relevant to natural products in the UIC Health Science Library. They continued to review online journals to update the database through 2003. (Only about 15 percent of relevant studies from '04 and '05 are currently included, due to budget restraints.) Past clients of NAPRALERT have include universities, the Food and Drug Administration and the World Health Organization.

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