NAPRALERT, an acronym for 'Natural Products Alert', was developed in 1975 by Professor Norman Farnsworth and is said to contain information from over 200,000 published studies in the field of natural products covering numerous related scientific disciplines.
"It is a relational database of all natural products, including a wide range of research on ethnomedical information and pharmacological and biochemical information of extracts of animal and plant organisms," explained Prof Farnsworth.
"The research includes in vitro (experimental laboratory) studies, in situ (on-site studies), in vivo (animal studies), human case reports and non-clinical trials related to human use, and controlled and uncontrolled human clinical trials. Similar information is available for secondary metabolites from natural sources," he said.
Making the database available on the Internet could expand the client base from the traditional base of universities, the Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization, foreign governments, and other research and educational institutions.
The database is said to contain literature and data on about 250 genera of plants, with the earliest papers dating back to the late 1800's. The database also includes data from foreign journals that are not always readily available.
"We are fortunate also to have many foreign journals in which articles are rarely found through the usually accessible natural product scientific literature sources," added Prof Farnsworth.
Some of the specific areas of research that are extensively covered include clinical studies of natural products (including safety), extracts and compounds that affect cancer growth, Natural products and antiviral (including HIV/AIDS) activity, biosynthesis of natural products, and anti-inflammatory activity of natural products.
For more information, visit www.napralert.org.