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St. John’s wort was traditionally used as a calming tonic, a favourite in the menopause, for psychological and neurological conditions, and externally for wound healing and burns. However the vast quantity of modern research into St. John’s wort has addressed only its use in depression. Clinical studies, although of variable quality, have shown that St. John’s wort is an effective treatment, comparable with and better tolerated than conventional antidepressants, in cases of mild to moderate depression. It may interact with other medicines, reducing the effect of immuno-suppressant drugs, anti-HIV drugs chemotherapy, blood thinning drugs and digoxin.  

Who are we?

We are an international group of experts; all of us use plants as medicines in practice and have many decades of experience between us. We are struck by how different plants are from other medicines and are always looking for ways to know more about their role in our work.

Over 20 years we have developed EXTRACT as an 'expert-based knowledge system' to help us, using relational database technology to construct a unique new evidence base. EXTRACT makes sense of the fragments of information better than anything else we know. We now wish to share it with as many others as possible.

The EXTRACT database and its associated resources are managed in the public interest by SustainCare Community Interest Company, a new international social enterprise corporation registered in England (Company No. 4780923).

The object of SustainCare CIC  is "to learn how to look after ourselves and our families in ways that make sense and do not cost the earth".

We are not tied to any manufacturer or product range. The only special interest we recognise is in plants as a resource in healthcare. We are committed to providing the most comprehensive, balanced and independent information available. It is the same commitment we make to our patients.

So, this is the Plant Medicine deal...

  • To offer for the widest possible scrutiny a comprehensive evidence base, the EXTRACT database, on the use of plant medicines.

  • To complement and enrich the evidence base with accumulated narratives from users of plant medicines, using an open-access web database for visitor authoring and editing.

  • To develop a new language for the discussion of plant medicines consistent with empirical insights into their character and use, and to apply such insights to the most appropriate yet rigorous assessment of the efficacy of plant medicines.

  • To espouse modern standards for assuring quality of plant medicines and to counter widespread and ingrained commercial abuses; to recommend manufactured products only where quality standards are independently verified.

  • To incorporate the best modern approaches to monitoring safety in human use; constantly to update with adverse effects monitoring information from regulatory and other agencies.

  • By integrating the most up-to-date information and insights into the use of plant medicines to inform health professionals and the public about their impact on and potential interactions with modern health care.

  • To apply the database and narrative materials directly to interactive continuing education programmes for health professionals.

  • To encourage sustainable and intermediate technology solutions to the cultivation, production and use of plant medicines, particularly in developing countries, so as

-            to counter the effects of over-exploitation of wild populations,

-            to improve quality standards and so enhance market prospects,

-            to support cultural and economic autonomy and health care within local communities.

SustainCare CIC

contact us           Where to find us?