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The inner bark of the slippery elm (Ulmus rubra) a native of Eastern and Central North America is one of the most mucilaginous plant materials known. It forms a simple physical mucus-like coating over the upper digestive tract when swallowed, temporarily and safely protecting oesophageal and gastric lining from acid or peptic damage. Like all mucilages it also appears to have a reflex soothing effect in the case of dry non-productive coughs, a reflex that some have linked to old embryological connections between bronchial and upper digestive tract tissues.




At the core of Plant-Medicine is a dedicated database whose relational structure reflects the characteristics of plant pharmacology, taxonomy and therapeutics. EXTRACT provides a new framework on which to present a rigorous clinical evidence on the use of herbal remedies linked to relevant phytochemical, botanic and ethnobotanic information. Uniquely it has been designed by practitioners to address the real-life questions that practitioners and users ask: a wide range of fragmentary data is displayed in a more meaningful way for clinical decisions. Additional value is provided in commentaries on the data from expert practitioners. The database provides:

unique relevance -

guided by the world’s leading herbal experts and practitioners


unique practicality -

evidence assessed for relevance to clinical realities


unique coverage -

includes specialist sources of literature from around the world


unique rigour -

all evidence is subject to transparent ratings, to assurance by independent quality panel and to feedback by users


unique narrative -

distilled patterns of human experience through history and around the world


unique depth -

dedicated database structure links multiple layers of evidence specific to the properties of plants and their impact on humans


unique accessibility -

from instant weighted advice in the consultation room to rich research resources for graduate study


unique authority -

it’s all you will ever need!


EXTRACT re-lives the world of the medicinal plant explorer, taking account of all the clues available in making assessments about a plant. It presents rigorously weighted and independently reviewed evidence on efficacy, safety, and plant-drug interactions. It systematically distils patterns of use over centuries and around the world. It links otherwise disparate clues into patterns that begin to makes sense. It adds expert insights into clinical use from the world’s leading practitioners.

Design and orientation is by practitioners and by experts on medicinal plants; assessment of the literature is rigorous, transparent and independent. The combination provides the richest evidence base available.

Clinical judgments will be better informed and research hypotheses more productive.

The remedy emerges as a rounded character in stories of health and illness – it begins to makes sense.

Find out more about how the evidence is weighed.

Go to EXTRACT now!



The EXTRACT database was conceived by Simon Mills, Dr Martin Willoughby and Professor Stan Roberts at the University of Exeter, Devon in 1990 as the EXeter TRAditional medicines and Chemistry projecT. It was set up for the web by Ian Wellaway at the University School of Education and Lifelong Learning, and is currently managed in Exeter.  Devon is a historic rural and maritime county in southwest England, now home to the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry - one of the most modern and innovative medical schools.

contact us Last Updated: 30 July 2008