Qualifications & Appointments
BSc (Hons), Biology (Ecology), University of Exeter, 1977
MSc, Environmental Resources, University of Salford, 1978
Honorary Professor, Institute of Medicinal Plants Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Science, 2007 onwards
Expert Advisory Group, Herbal and Complementary Medicines (EAG-HCM), British Pharmacopoeia Commission, 2006 onwards
Botanical Advisor, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, 2009 onwards
Member, Quality Control Work Package, Framework 7 project
‘EU-Good Practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research’, 2010-2012
Member, Consortium, Consortium for Globalization of Chinese Medicine (CGCM), 2009 onwards
Member, China Plant Specialist Group & Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, IUCN-SSC, 1999 onwards
Founder member, Plantlife (UK plant conservation charity), 1989 onwards
MBE: UK-China Science Relationship
Winner, 1994 British Computer Society Information Technology Award for 'Poisonous Plants in Britain and Ireland: an interactive identification system on CD-ROM'
Project Manager, Chinese Medicinal Plants Authentication and Conservation Centre (CMPACC)
Main activity is to build, research and manage Kew’s Chinese medicinal plants authentication and conservation resource (CMPACC). Aims are 1. to create and provide a medicinal plants authentication and plant names service to help improve the safe and efficacious use of Chinese medicinal plants in the West and promote their sustainable supply; 2. to research and support related natural product and regulatory needs appropriate to emerging international standards.
CMPACC’s work includes extensive fieldwork in China, creation of provenanced reference medicines at Kew, development of analytical identification methods (mostly chemical) and the provision of an authentication service to a wide audience in the UK and abroad, notably government regulators (health and conservation), hospitals, herbal medicine traders, practitioners, manufacturers, training colleges and academia. Main external collaborators are the Chinese Academy of Medical Science and the British Pharmacopoeia Commission. Activities are dependent upon close inter-departmental collaboration at Kew, such as the verification of voucher specimens by Herbarium taxonomists, chemical finger-printing by Jodrell Laboratory staff, managing science delegations from China often with the support of CLCE staff and more recently, plant names research with Kew’s recently funded Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS). Additional advice is provided to staff in the Conventions & Policies Section of HLAA regarding the status and identification of CITES-listed Chinese medicinal species in UK trade. Externally the work is represented in Kew’s official involvement in various international initiatives notably the EU Framework 7 project: ‘Good Practice in Traditional Chinese Medicine Research in the Post-Genomic Era’ and the ‘Consortium for the Globalisation Chinese Medicine’.
Staff management: 2 part-time. Their activities focus on economic botany enquiries and related research specialising in the identification and toxicology of UK plants and fungi.
Selected Recent Publications
Chan, K., Shaw, D., Simmonds, M.S.J., Leon, C.J. et al. (2012). Good practice in reviewing and publishing studies on herbal medicine, with special emphasis on traditional Chinese medicine and Chinese materia medica. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 140: 469-475.
Chen Shilin, Lin Yulin, Qian Zhongzhi and Leon, C. (co-editors) (2010). A coloured identification atlas of Chinese Materia Medica and Plants as specified in the Pharmacopoeia of the People’s Republic of China. Chinese Pharmacopoeia Commission, 2 vols, 1236 pp.
Simmonds, M.S.J., Leon, C., Howes, M.J., Paton, A., Allkin, R., Kite, G.C. & Porter, E. (2010). Authentication of plants used in medicines, especially traditional Chinese medicine: challenges and opportunities. [Abstract]. Revista de Fitoterapia 10(S1): 179.
Shilin Chen, Hui Yao, Jianping Han, Chang Liu, Jingyuan Song, Linchun Shi, Yingjie Zhu, Xinye Ma, Ting Gao, Xiaohui Pang, Kun Luo, Ying Li, Xiwen Li, Xiaocheng Jia, Yulin Lin & Leon, C. (2010). Validation of the ITS Region as a Novel DNA Barcode for Identifying Medicinal Plant Species. PloS ONE 5(1): 8613.doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0008613
Kite, G.C., Veitch, N.C., Boalch, M.E., Lewis, G.P., Leon, C.J. & Simmonds M.S. (2009). Flavonol tetraglycosides from fruits of Styphnolobium japonicum (Leguminosae) and the authentication of Fructus Sophorae and Flos Sophorae. Phytochemistry 70: 785-794.
Farah, M., Olsson, S., Bate, J., Lindquist, M., Edwards, R., Simmonds, M.S.J., Leon, C., De Boer, H.J. & Thulin, M. (2006). Botanical nomenclature in pharmacovigilance and a recommendation for standardisation. Drug Safety 29(2): 1023-1030.
Leon, C.J., Simmonds, M.S.J., Lin, Y.L., Zhang, B. & Chen, S. (2006). Authenticating Chinese medicinal plants on the UK market: Issues, needs and developments. Drug Safety 29 (4): 347.
Selected Earlier Publications
Kite, G., Howes, M-J., Leon, C. & Simmonds, M.S.J. (2002). Detecting aristolochic acids in herbal remedies by liquid chromatography/serial mass spectrometry. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry 16: 585-590.
Leon, C., Simmonds, M.S.J., Yu-Lin, L. & Bengang, Z. (2002). Quality control systems for Chinese medicinal plants: can they benefit conservation? In 3rd Int. Conf. Application of New Science & Technology in Biodiversity Conservation & Utilisation: Conservation of Medicinal Plant Diversity & Sustainable Utilisation. Beijing. 315- 323.
Farah, M.H., Edwards, R., Lindquist, M., Leon, C. & Shaw, D. (2000). International monitoring of adverse health effects associated with herbal medicines. Pharmacoepidemiology & Drug Safety 9: 105-112.
Shaw, D., Leon, C.J., Kolev S. & Murray V. (1997). Traditional Remedies and Food Supplements; a 5-year toxicological study (1991-1995). Drug Safety 17(5): 342-356.
Leon C. J., Dauncey, E. & Rayner, T. (1995). Poisonous Plants in Britain and Ireland: an identification system for medical professionals on CD-ROM. HMSO, London. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew & Guy’s & St Thomas Hospital Trust.