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Example searches you might enter:

  • 'chamaemelum nobile' (scientific binomial: accepted name or synonym)
  • 'chamaemelum' (component of a scientific name e.g. genus)
  • 'chamomile' (common name)
  • 'ginseng' (herbal drug name)
  • '삼칠삼' (herbal drug name in Arabic, Chinese or any other script)
  • 'cimicifugae rhizoma' (pharmaceutical herbal drug name) ¹
  • 'chamomillae' (part of a pharmaceutical herbal drug name)

Use Wild Cards to broaden your search

  • 'aristol*' will find all names containing a word beginning with the string 'aristol' e.g. Aristolochia indica AND Piper aristolochioides
  • '*caulis' will find all names containing a word including the string 'caulis' e.g. 'Curcuma phaeocaulis' or 'Aralia nudicaulis'

Use Quotation marks to narrow your search

  • A search for the term faba-bean (a hyphenated common name) will find all names that contain either faba or bean
  • A search for the same term enclosed in quotation marks ”faba-bean” will find far fewer names: only those explicitly matching your search string

A successful search will return:

  • A list of medicinal plants which have AT LEAST ONE NAME matching your search term – NB the matching name could be a common name or scientific synonym.
  • Information for each of these plants including
    • the medicinal references in which it is cited
    • alternative names and where they are used
    • all scientific synonyms
    • the parts of the plant used medicinally
    • the form in which they are used
  • Links to further information e.g. search PubMed using all known synonyms for that plant simultaneously.

The MPNS Resource: 

New version Dec 2021

MPNS V11 includes the scientific, pharmaceutical, trade and common names used for medicinal plants or herbal substances reported to have medicinal use drawn from 199 pharmaceutical or medicinal plant publications covering

  • 34,408 plants from 377 families of angiosperm or gymnosperm
  • 550,000+ unique names used for these plants or herbal substances


Contact to

  • join our User Group
  • ask questions
  • send us comments and suggestions
Need more help?
  1. How to Use the MPNS Portal explains how to make searches & navigate the portal.
  2. Our FAQ pages explain how to interpret your results.

Kew acknowledges development grants from the Wellcome and the Wolfson Charitable Trusts. We are indebted to our many partners, volunteers and users for their data, insights and feedback.

¹ Caution: including plant parts (e.g. ‘rhizoma’) or additional detail in your search may exclude relevant records. For example, searching for ‘ginseng’ retrieves 18 different plants while entering ‘ginseng root’ will only retrieve 3 plants.