Traditional Medicine Collection Tracking System (TM-CTS): A database for ethnobotanically driven drug-discovery programs

Eric S.J. Harris, Sean D. Erickson, Andrew N. Tolopko, Shugeng Cao, Jane A. Craycroft, Robert Scholten, Yanling Fu, Wenquan Wang, Yong Liu, Zhongzhen Zhao, Jon Clardy, Caroline E. Shamu, David M. Eisenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Ethnobotanically driven drug-discovery programs include data related to many aspects of the preparation of botanical medicines, from initial plant collection to chemical extraction and fractionation. The Traditional Medicine Collection Tracking System (TM-CTS) was created to organize and store data of this type for an international collaborative project involving the systematic evaluation of commonly used Traditional Chinese Medicinal plants. Materials and methods: The system was developed using domain-driven design techniques, and is implemented using Java, Hibernate, PostgreSQL, Business Intelligence and Reporting Tools (BIRT), and Apache Tomcat. Results: The TM-CTS relational database schema contains over 70 data types, comprising over 500 data fields. The system incorporates a number of unique features that are useful in the context of ethnobotanical projects such as support for information about botanical collection, method of processing, quality tests for plants with existing pharmacopoeia standards, chemical extraction and fractionation, and historical uses of the plants. The database also accommodates data provided in multiple languages and integration with a database system built to support high throughput screening based drug discovery efforts. It is accessed via a web-based application that provides extensive, multi-format reporting capabilities. Conclusions: This new database system was designed to support a project evaluating the bioactivity of Chinese medicinal plants. The software used to create the database is open source, freely available, and could potentially be applied to other ethnobotanically driven natural product collection and drug-discovery programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-593
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 17 2011

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported primarily by a grant from the National Institutes of Health ( U19 CA128534 ) and also received partial support from the Osher Foundation.


  • Database
  • Drug discovery
  • Ethnobotany
  • High throughput screening
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine

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