Plants for Health: a catalogue of plant-derived products and ingredients for food, nutrition and health


  • Dr Robert Allkin

    Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, United Kingdom

  • Dr Paul Kersey

    Kew Royal Botanic Gardens, United Kingdom

Project summary

Plants are important sources of ingredients for health products: medicines, nutritional supplements, herbal teas and cosmetics. These ?botanicals? are increasingly popular in the Global North and underpin primary health-care in the South. Being ?natural? does not make these products safe. More research and better regulation is needed. Research, regulation and manufacture are hindered by the multitude of alternative names used in different countries and disciplines for both the products and plants involved. This confusion prevents professionals from finding or sharing research data. The wrong plants are studied, the wrong products prescribed and regulations mislead. We previously addressed these issues by building a comprehensive index for plant-based medicines. Now we plan to cover all ?botanicals? and add allergens, poisons, adulterants and substitute species. We will make our data available to many more health professionals, feeding information systems used by global regulators and researchers, enabling them to share data and communicate effectively.