Michael Heinrich, Prof. Dr.


Head of Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy


Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, The School of Pharmacy, University of London



Areas of Expertise

Pharmacognosy, medicinal plants, transcription factors (NF-kB), antioxidant activity, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacy, phytomedicines, phytochemistry, phytochemical analysis, nutraceuticals

Research Interests

Pharmacognosy/phytotherapy/natural product research (pharmaceutical biology) and ethnobotany:

  • Ethnobotany of indigenous groups esp. in Mesoamerica (México and Guatemala), the Mediterranean and Northern Australia (including collabotations with partner institituions in these countries; with Dr. Sarah Edwards, Andreas Lardos, Rocio Alarcon, Michelle Viteri, Adriana Patsoura and Peter Giovannini).

  • Anti-inflammatory natural products focusing on the transcription factor NF- κB and other transcription factors as molecular targets of natural product research (collaboratons with the University of Cordoba, University of Giessen, Univerrsity Hospital Freiburg; with Wieland Peschel, Nisarat Siriwatanametanon, Dr. Jose Prieto).
  • Medicinal Cannabis - anti-inflammatory and anti-migraine effects. (EU-funded with collaborators including six other academic institutions and three SMEs; Dr Jose M. Prieto and Wieland Peschel)
  • Nutraceuticals with anti-oxidant activity (with Rocio Alarcon, Michelle Viteri, Dr. Jose Prieto)
  • Bioactive compounds from plants used in the treatment of gastrointestinal, dermatological and parasitic diseases.
  • Zoopharmacognositic study of Equine Grass Sickness - a motoneuronal disease of horses (with Dr. Sarah Edwards and Dr Peter Giovannini)


  • Complementary and alternative medicine and medicinal plants in the medical system of the UK, esp. in ethnic minorities.
  • Cultural history of plant use in Europe (with Manuel Pardo de S., University Autonoma de Madrid and Andreas Lardos).
  • Medical anthropology of Mexican indigenous groups (with Peter Giovannini).
  • Cognitive basis of medicinal plant use.

Other relevant activities and interest

  • Editor in Chief 'Frontiers in Ethnopharmacology'
  • Journal of Ethnopharmacology (Reviews editor incl. book reviews)
  • Professional Member Herbal Medicines Advisory Committee (MHRA)
  • Council member and member of Scientific Advisory Board, IMDEA Alimentacion (Instituto Madrileno de Estudios Avanzados, joint institute of three universities in Madrid - Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, U. Complutense and U. Politecnica
  • Phytochemical Letters, Section Editor 'Ethnopharmacy'


  • Head of Centre and Professor, Centre for Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy, The School of Pharmacy, University of London (since 1999)
  • Privatdozent, Dr. rer. nat. habil. (U. Freiburg, 1997, Pharmaceutical Biology/Pharmacognosy)
  • Dr. rer. nat. [U. Freiburg, 1989, (pharmaceutical) biology]
  • M.Sc. - Dipl Biol (U. Freiburg, 1985)
  • MA (Wayne State University, 1982, Anthropology)

Selected Publications

  • Giovannini, P. and M. Heinrich (2009) Xki yoma’ (our medicine) and xki tienda (patent medicine)—Interface between traditional and modern medicine among the Mazatecs of Oaxaca, Mexico . Journal of Ethnopharmacology 121: 383 – 199. (doi:10.1016/j.jep.2008.11.003)

  • Heinrich M, Maryam Modarai,  Andreas Kortenkamp. 2008. Herbal extracts used for upper respiratory tract infections: Are there clinically relevant interactions with the Cytochrome P450 enzyme system? Planta medica 74: 657 – 660. (DOI: 10.1055/s-2008-1034292)

  • Heinrich, M., J. Chan, S. Wanke, Ch. Neinhuis and M.S.S. Simmonds (2009) Local Uses of Aristolochia species and content of Aristolochic Acid 1 and 2 –  a global assessment based on bibliographic sources. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 125: 108 – 144.

  • Heinrich, M., S. Edwards,  D. E. Moerman, M. Leonti (2009) Ethnopharmacological Field Studies: A Critical Assessment of their Conceptual Basis and Methods. Journal of Ethnpharmacology 124: 1 – 17 (doi:10.1016/j.jep.2009.03.043)

  • Modarai, M., Suter A., A. Kortenkamp,  M. Heinrich, (2010) Metabolomic profiling of liquid Echinacea medicinal products inhibiting  Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4). Planta medica in press

  • Politi M., W. Peschel, N. Wilson, M. Zloh, J.M. Prieto, and Heinrich M. 2008. Cannabis water extracts and tinctures analysed by NMR spectroscopy; different strategies to reduce the content of delta9-THC. Phytochemistry 69: 562–570.

extended publications list (external link) >>

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