Ag Data Commons
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Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases

posted on 2023-11-30, 07:22 authored by James A. Duke

Of interest to pharmaceutical, nutritional, and biomedical researchers, as well as individuals and companies involved with alternative therapies and and herbal products, this database is one of the world's leading repositories of ethnobotanical data, evolving out of the extensive compilations by the former Chief of USDA's Economic Botany Laboratory in the Agricultural Research Service in Beltsville, Maryland, in particular his popular Handbook of phytochemical constituents of GRAS herbs and other economic plants (CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1992). In addition to Duke's own publications, the database documents phytochemical information and quantitative data collected over many years through research results presented at meetings and symposia, and findings from the published scientific literature.

The current Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical databases facilitate plant, chemical, bioactivity, and ethnobotany searches. A large number of plants and their chemical profiles are covered, and data are structured to support browsing and searching in several user-focused ways. For example, users can

  • get a list of chemicals and activities for a specific plant of interest, using either its scientific or common name
  • download a list of chemicals and their known activities in PDF or spreadsheet form
  • find plants with chemicals known for a specific biological activity
  • display a list of chemicals with their LD toxicity data
  • find plants with potential cancer-preventing activity
  • display a list of plants for a given ethnobotanical use
  • find out which plants have the highest levels of a specific chemical

References to the supporting scientific publications are provided for each specific result.

Resources in this dataset:

  • Resource Title:

    File Name:

    Resource Description: Dr. Duke's Phytochemistry and Ethnobotany - raw database tables for archival purposes.

    Visit for the interactive web version of the database.

  • Resource Title: Data Dictionary (preliminary).

    File Name: DrDukesDatabaseDataDictionary-prelim.csv

    Resource Description: This Data Dictionary describes the columns for each table. [Note that this is in progress and some variables are yet to be defined or are unused in the current implementation. Please send comments/suggestions to ]


Agricultural Research Service


Data contact name

National Agricultural Library

Data contact email


Ag Data Commons

Intended use

Research on medicinal plants, their phytochemical components, and biological activity.

Use limitations

Not to be used for self-diagnosis or self-medication.

Temporal Extent Start Date



  • irregular


  • Not specified

Geographic Coverage


Geographic location - description


ISO Topic Category

  • biota
  • environment
  • farming
  • health

National Agricultural Library Thesaurus terms

databases; ethnobotany; medicinal plants; medicinal properties; phytopharmaceuticals

OMB Bureau Code

  • 005:18 - Agricultural Research Service

OMB Program Code

  • 005:040 - National Research

Pending citation

  • No

Public Access Level

  • Public

Preferred dataset citation

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. 1992-2016. Dr. Duke's Phytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases. Home Page,

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