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Tansy In The News

First appeared: Saturday, February 26, 2011

You might have seen the global news coverage of our recent  research findings on Tansy. As hundreds of news articles all over the world have  picked up the story, we are obliged to put this information page to  answer the large volume of questions put forward to us  by the public and the media.

...See the media coverage of our findings...

Tansy is a common name for a herbaceous perennial plant known by its scientific name as Tanacetum vulgare. The plant belongs to the  family Asteraceae and  distributed throughout temperate Europe and Asia where it grows along roadsides, hedgerows and waste places. Among the many traditional medicinal uses of Tansy reported in the current literature are those related to skin eruptions and related conditions. While many scientific reports  published in recent years have shown the promise of Tansy for some disease conditions, several areas of outstanding scientific researches  are yet to be addressed to validate the claimed traditional uses.

Our Research On Tansy

Our (Dr Habtemariam's) research interest focus on the pharmacological and phytochemical evaluations of medicinal plants. During the past two decades, our research group has provided scientific evidence for medicinal uses of various European medicinal plants. Our research group  has also  assisted many herbal medicine practitioners, suppliers and consumers who wished to  ascertain the quality of their crude herbal products. As part of this ongoing effort to modernise traditional herbal medicines, Tansy has been included in our research projects. First we have shown that extracts obtained from the  aerial parts of Tansy possess potent antioxidant properties; an effect which is of interest to wound healing properties. We have further  identified the active principles of the antioxidant compounds - these results are published in a scientific journal: Natural Product Communications, Volume 4, Number 11, Page No. 1561 - 1564. In view of this finding, a comprehensive research on antiherpes activity study became very relevant.


Two forms of herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and HSV-2) are known to cause long-term latent infections with periods of recurring viral replication. The common sites of infection are the lips, eyes, mucous membrane of the oral cavity and the genitals. Incidence of herpes especially HSV-2 that causes genital infection  has been steadily increasing in recent years.  The ever increasing incidences of drug resistance  together with immunosuppressive illnesses such as AIDS have been the major problems associated with the growing prevalence of the disease. As recently reported in ScienceDaily (Sep. 30, 2010), experimental vaccines intended to prevent herpes has not proven to be effective. A novel  drug which addresses the above mentioned problems are therefore a long awaited blessing.

Our UK-Spanish Collaboration

In 2009, our (Dr Habtemariam's) research group has forged a research link with Professor  Francisco Parra (Universidad de Oviedo Spain). Our studies included the bioassay of crude extracts of the aerial parts of Tansy as well as the underground rhizomatous parts. We have also included several fractions and isolated compounds including  parthenolide which has  previously been  reported for its antiviral activities. We have shown that, compounds other than parthenolide were responsible for the antiviral activities and our results were published in a scientific  journal: Phytotherapy Research,  Volume 25, Number 2, pages 296-301. We are currently undergoing further research on the chemistry and pharmacology of Tansy extracts and purified compounds.

We are currently  running various other collaborative projects and work closely with colleagues in  Africa, Australia, India, Europe and North America. Our research projects cover a wide range of disease conditions and   we always welcome a collaborative research call from interested groups in this field.

...See the media coverage of our findings...


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The Site Owner

Dr Habtemariam BSc, MSc, PhD........FRSM, FRSC. .... With a Principal Lecturer post at Greenwich, Dr Habtemariam has been a  leader of courses  and researches on bioassay & natural products-based drug development. ....More



In addition to our fully equipped tissue culture facilities, we have  access to various state-of-the-art equipment including ICP-MS, LC-MS, MALDI-TOF-MS, FABS-MS, FTIR, Laser-Raman,  scanning  and transmission  electron microscopes, flow cytometer, NMR (270, 300 and 500MHz),  automated DNA sequencers, various HPLC systems,  capillary electrophersis and ABI PRCmate DNA synthetisers.










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