MedPlant results up until 2018

The scientific aim of MedPlant is to develop new approaches and technologies for selection and sustainable use of biodiversity resources for lead discovery and to develop new plant derived leads. At the end of 2017, 25 scientific publications and two book chapters are published by the fellows, several publications have been submitted to international peer-reviewed journals, and several more are in progress as the PhD fellows defend their PhD theses.

Results highlights to date include several reviews and commentaries of evolutionary approaches to ethnobiology (Saslis-Lagoudakis et al., 2015a; Leonti, 2015; Hawkins and Teixidor-Toneu 2017. Trends Pl. Sci.), a quantitative survey of herbal drugs in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica, the craddle of European plant medicines (Staub et al. 2016, Phytomed.), an ethnobotanical study documenting acculturation and loss of ethnobotanical knowledge in southern Mexico (Geck et al., 2016, J. Ethnopharm), new pipelines for classifying diseases and remedies in ethnomedicine and ethnopharmacology (Ernst et al., 2015, J. Ethnopharm.; and Ernst et al. 2016, Sci. Rep.; Leonti et al., 2015, Front. Pharmacol.; Staub et al. 2015, J. Ethnopharm.; Geck et al. 2017, J. Ethnopharm.), for investigating pharmacological similarity by charting chemical space (Buonfiglio et al., 2015, J.Chem.Inf.Mod.; Xu et al., Phytomed.), and exploration of DNA barcoding for authentication of herbal products (Saslis-Lagoudakis et al., 2015. Sci. Rep.; Sgamma et al. 2017. Planta Med., Xu et al., In press) Food Chem.).

(Contribution from MedPlant PIs and Fellows underlined)


Iwanycki Ahlstrand, NE (ESR4), Reghev NH, Markussen B, Eiriksson F, Thorsteinsdóttir MBruun Hansen HCRønsted N, Barnes C. (2018). Untargeted metabolic profiling reveals geography as the strongest predictor of metabolic phenotypes of a cosmopolitan weed. Ecology and Evolution. vol.8:6812-6826. DOI:

Manzanilla, V (ESR13)., Kool, A., Nguyen Nhat, L., Nong Van, H., Le Thi Thu, H., de Boer, H.J. (2018). Phylogenomics and barcoding of Panax: toward the identification of ginseng species. BMC Evol. Biol. 18, 44. DOI:

Pellicer J, Haris Saslis-Lagoudakis C, Carrió E, Ernst M (ESR5), Garnatje T, Grace OM, Gras A, Mumbrú M, Vallès J, Vitales D, Rønsted N. (2018). A phylogenetic road map to antimalarial Artemisia species. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. vol. 225:1-9. DOI:

Quiñonero-López C, Corral P, Lorrain-Lorrette B, Martinez-Swatson K (ESR3), Michoux F, Simonsen HT. (2018). Use of a temporary immersion bioreactor system for the sustainable production of thapsigargin in shoot cultures of Thapsia garganicaPlant Methods 14:79. DOI:


Andersen TB, Martinez K (ESR3), Rasmussen SA, Boughton B, Jørgensen K, Andersen-Ranberg J, Nyberg N, Christensen SB, Simonsen HT (2017). Localization and in vivo characterisation of Thapsia garganica CYP76AE2 indicates a role in thapsigargin biosynthesis. Plant Physiology 174: 1-17. DOI:

Geck MS (ESR7), Cabras S, Casu L, Reyes García AJ, Leonti M. (2017). The taste of heat: how humoral qualities act as a cultural filter for chemosensory properties guiding herbal medicine. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 198, 499–515. DOI:

Xu M (ESR2), Heidmarsson S, Thorsteinsdottir M, Kreuzer M (ESR11), Hawkins J, Omarsdottir S, Olafsdottir ES. (2017). Authentication of Iceland Moss by UPLC-QToF-MS metabolite profiling and DNA barcoding. Food Chemistry. DOI:

Alqethami A, Hawkins JA, Teixidor-Toneu I (ESR6) (2017). Medicinal plants used by women in Mecca: Urban, Muslim and gendered knowledge. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 13: 62. DOI:

Hawkins JA, Teixidor-Toneu I (ESR6) (2017). Defining ‘ethnobotanical convergence’. Trends in Plant Science 22: 639-640. DOI:

Sgamma T, Lockie-Williams C, Kreuzer M (ESR11), Williams S, Scheyhing U, Koch E, Slater A, Howard C (2017). DNA barcoding for industrial quality assurance. Planta Medica 83: 1117-1129. DOI:

Hassemer G, Marques Da Silva OL, Funez LA, Ernst M (ESR5), Cordeiro I, Rønsted N (2017). Updates on Euphorbia (Euphorbiaceae) in Santa Catarina state, Brazil. Phytotaxa 298: 222-238. DOI:

Ibrahim AMM*, Martinez-Swatson KA (ESR3)*, Benkaci-Ali F, Cozzi F, Zoulikha F, Simonsen HT. (in press).
Effects of gamma irradiation and different extraction methods on sesquiterpene lactones in the Algerian medicinal plant Thapsia garganica L. (Apiaceae). Journal of Applied Research on Medical and Aromatic Plants (JARMAP). DOI:

Rønsted N, Iwanycki NE (ESR4), Maldonado C, Hassemer G, Martinez K (ESR3), Saslis-Lagoudakis CH, Jäger AK, Soelberg J. (2017). The future of drug discovery – are collections needed? Accepted for publication in Scientia Danica. Series B, Biologica 6: 253-266, The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters. DOI: 

Teixidor-Toneu I (ESR6), Martin GJ, Puri RK, Ouhammou A, and Hawkins JA. (2017). Treating infants with frigg: linking disease aetiologies, medicinal plant use and care-seeking behaviour in southern Morocco. Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine 13:4

Xu M (ESR2), Heidmarsson S, Thorsteinsdottir M, Eiriksson FE, Omarsdottir, Olafsdottir ES. (2017). DNA barcoding and LC-MS metabolite profiling of the lichen-forming genus Melanelia: Specimen identification and discrimination focusing on Icelandic taxa. PloS ONE 12:e0178012. DOI:


Ernst MSaslis-Lagoudakis CHGrace OMNilsson NSimonsen HTHorn JWRønsted N. Evolutionary prediction of medicinal properties in the genus Euphorbia L. Nature Scientific Reports 6: 30531. DOI: 10.1038/srep30531.

Geck M (ESR7), Reyes García AJ, Casu L, Leonti M. (2016). Acculturation and ethnomedicine: A regional comparison of medicinal plant knowledge among the Zoque of southern Mexico. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 187: 146-159. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2016.04.036

Halse-Gramkow M, Ernst M (ESR5), Rønsted N, Dunn RR, Saslis-Lagoudakis CH (2016). Using evolutionary tools to search for novel psychoactive plants. Plant Genetic Resources, 1-10. DOI: 10.1017/S1479262116000344.

Staub (ESR8), Casu L, Leonti M., (2016). Back to the roots: A quantitative survey of herbal drugs in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (ex Matthioli, 1568), Phytomedicine. 23, 1043-1052.

Teixidor-Toneu I(ESR6), Martin GJ, Ouhammou A, Puri RK, Hawkins JA, 2016. An ethnomedicinal survey of a Tashelhit-speaking community in the High Atlas, Morocco. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 188, 96-110.

Teixidor-Toneu I(ESR6), Martin GJ, Ouhammou A, Puri RK, Hawkins JA, (2016). Comprehensive dataset of the medicinal plants used by a Tashelhit speaking community in the High Atlas, Morocco. Data in Brief. 8, 516-519.


Andersen TB, López CQ, Manczak T, Martinez K (ESR3) and Simonsen HT (2015). Thapsigargin—From Thapsia L. to Mipsagargin. Molecules 20, 6113-6127. DOI:10.3390/molecules20046113. PDF Version:

Buonfiglio R (ER1), Engkvist O, Várkonyi P, Henz A (ESR1), Vikeved E, Backlund A, Kogej T (2015). Investigating pharmacological similarity by charting chemical space. Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling 23: 2375. Online publication October 20th, 2015. 
DOI: 10.1021/acs.jcim.5b00375

Ernst MGrace OMSaslis-Lagoudakis CHNilsson NSimonsen HTRønsted N (2015). Global medicinal uses of Euphorbia L. (Euphorbiaceae). Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 176:90–101.
DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.10.025

Leonti M, Staub P (ESR8), Cabras S, Castellanos ME, Casu L (2015). From cumulative cultural transmission to evidence-based medicine: Evolution of medicinal plant knowledge in Southern Italy. Frontiers in Pharmacology. Published online September 2015. DOI: 10.3389/fphar.2015.00207.

Rankou H, Ouhammou A, Taleb M, Manzanilla V (ESR13)Martin G. (2015). Anacyclus pyrethrum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T202924A53798702.

Saslis-Lagoudakis CH, Bruun-Lund S, Iwanycki NE (ESR4), Seberg O, Petersen G, Jäger AK, Rønsted, N (2015). Identification of common horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.: Equisetaceae) using thin layer chromatography versus DNA barcoding. Scientific Reports 5, 11942. DOI: 10.1038/srep11942.

Staub PO (ESR8), Geck MS (ESR7), Weckerle CS, Casu C, Leonti M (2015). Classifying diseases and remedies in ethnomedicine and ethnopharmacology. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 174:514-519. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2015.08.051

Xu M (ESR2), Heidmarsson S, Olafsdottir ES, Buonfiglio R (ER1), Kogej T, Omarsdottir S. (2015). Secondary metabolites from cetrarioid lichens: Chemotaxonomy, biological activities and pharmaceutical potential. Phytomedicine 23: 441-459. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2016.02.012.