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Medicinal Plant Names Services

Enabling effective communication in health, regulation and research.

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. 

Search the MPNS portal

This MPNS resource can be searched using the portal link above. The resource is also used to provide a suite of information services. 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. 

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

More about the MPNS project

Medicinal Plant Names Services at a glance (pdf)

Medicinal Plant Names Services: leaflet (pdf)

Role of MPNS in the identification of an ISO data standard for medicinal products (pdf)

Get involved

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

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, Richmond, Surrey, TW9 3AE, UK 


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Find out more

Weighing medicinal plant products in China

Services we offer

MPNS offers a range of information services based on our unique global and authoritative resources and on the expertise of staff at Kew.
MPNS Resource

The MPNS resource

Current version of the Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) resource is V6.0, published October 2016.
Medicinal plants for sale in China

How to use the portal

Welcome to this guide to using the MPNS portal, which provides an overview of the portal's main functionalities.
Ginseng wordle


Browse our frequently asked questions.
Chinese medicinal plants expedition


Medicinal Plant Names Services (MPNS) does not intend to duplicate work that others are already undertaking. This includes harnessing information on plant chemistry, toxicity or trade data.