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In: Bannerman RH, Burton J, Ch'en Wen-Chieh. Traditional medicine and health care coverage: a reader for health administrators and practitioners. Geneva, Switzerland, World Health Organization, 1983. 184-93.It has been estimated that from 25 to 75 thousand species of higher (flowering) plants exist on earth. Of these only about 1% are acknowledged through scientific studies to have real therapeutic value when used in extract form by humans. A computerized data base on the chemistry and pharmacology of natural products is available. The data base is maintained in the Department of Pharmacognosy and Pharmacology, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois, at the Medical Center, and has been given the acronym NAPRALERT (Natural Products ALERT). A systematic surveillance of the world literature on the chemistry and pharmacology of natural products has been in progress since 1975. In addition, a substantial amount of retrospective information has been acquired and computerized on selected genera of plants and on the pharmacological activities of natural products. These retrospective searches extend back into the mid 1700s. The major fields covered in the NAPRALERT system are 1) the organism record; 2) work types; 3) compound record; 4) pharmacology record; and 5) demographic record. There are 2 major areas in which traditional medicine can be served through the use of NAPRALERT: data retrieval and problem solving. Since most problems in traditional medicine are regional ones, it is possible to program the NAPRALERT data base to respond primarily to questions concerning plants of a specific country, or within a given continent. Recently the NAPRALERT base has been made available to individuals, industrial firms, academic institutions and government agencies with a modest fee calculated on the basis of actual computer time required to generate data output, the cost of copying the material and the mailing costs. In the near future, NAPRALERT will be approaching international funding agencies to enlist their cooperation in financing a 10 year program that will allow them to computerize all of the world literature on natural products as far back as 1900. This will be an enormous effort, which cannot be effectively accomplished without direct cooperation from interested scientists and institutions in developing countries. A plan for obtaining that objective is outlined.
Evaluation of the work of the Task Force on Indigenous Plants for Fertility Regulation of the Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction.
In: Assessment of the WHO Special Programme of Research, Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction [HRP]. II. Task Force reports. Country reports, [compiled by] Sweden. Swedish Agency for Research Cooperation with Developing Countries [SAREC]. Stockholm, Sweden, SAREC, 1983 Apr.  p..This report describes and evaluates the work of the Task Force on Indigenous Plants for Fertility Regulation of the Special Programme of Research in Human Reproduction at WHO. The goal of the project is to set up a network of collaborating centers to train personnel, design bioassays, isolate and test plant substances that are safe and effective by oral route for "morning after" pills or anti-implantation agents or male contraceptives. Plants chosen for assay were selected by a literature search including ethnomedical sources. All data were computerized, weighted and rank ordered. 300 of the 4500 species fell into the high priority group. 4 research centers now participate: Chinese University of Hong Kong, Seoul National University, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka and University of Illinois. In 1980-1981 the literature surveillance component of the Task Force provided bi-annual literature updates on the assigned plants. Primate studies are planned for 1982 and phase I human trials are anticipated in 1985 for the 1st compound. Zoapatle (Montanoa tomentosa) is a plant used for centuries in Mexico to terminate early pregnancy. An active compound, zoapatanol, and another more stable analogue are in pre-phase I trials. 4 plants from India are being examined for sperm agglutination activity, the spermatogenesis inhibiting effect of Koenchai (Chinese celery) and the mechanism of action of gossypol are being researched.