Basic instructions for using the NAPRALERT database

The NAPRALERT database is designed to accomodate two query levels.

  • A free search on the existence of desired data in the NAPRALERT database
  • Printable reports, downloadable for a fee, that include a list of citations and a summary of the relevant ethnomedical, pharmacological and/or chemical information you seek.

The following represents a solid process to generating the report that is most useful to you.

  • Create a NAPRALERT account, if you have not already done so
  • Given that there are competing and evolving taxonomies and naming conventions, verify the name of the compound or organism for which you seek information
  • Perform the search and refine it as you see fit, based upon the raw numbers of records and citations returned
  • Enter your credit card information (transmitted via 128-bit encryption for your security) via the NAPRALERT-affiliated University of Illinois payment system
  • Download the report in HTML. Your report will always be available on your My Reports page

If you are having particular difficulty acquiring results, contact us by e-mail and we will attempt to assist you.

Free Sample Reports

To give you a good idea of what kinds of data are included in the purchasable reports, please see the following free sample reports (in the PDF format).

How to search for pharmacological activity

There are many closely related pharmacological terms, e.g. "antitumor" is a search term used in the database but "anticancer" is not; if you use the latter term, no search results will be retrieved.

Also, there are many mechanisms to inhibit tumor growth, and it is necessary to check for all of these mechanisms to obtain a complete picture. There is a difference between antihyperglycemic (antidiabetic) and hypoglycemic activity.

A full list of pharmacological activities (CSV) is available for download.

How to search for complex names of compounds

Base Name

We name the compounds on the basis of a Base Name, which represents the parent structure of a compound. It is usually derived from the largest ring or straight-chain carbon skeleton in the structure. Here are some examples.

  • For oleanolic acid 3 acetate, data has been entered as oleanolic acid-3-acetate
  • For 3 acetoxy oleanolic acid, data has been entered as oleanolic acid,3-acetoxy:
  • For 8 methoxy quercetin, data has been entered as quercetin,8-methoxy:

Please note that if substituents are present, the base name is followed by a comma and the substituents, followed by a colon (:). More information on substituents is listed below.

If you are interested in any compound with a base name present in the database, you can use % as a wild card. This will show you all the related compounds to the base name. For example, searching by the term oleanolic acid% will give you all the compounds present in the data base that are derivatives of oleanolic acid.

Be sure to first verify the specific compound you are interested in. For example, using the same wild card search oleanolic acid% on the Verify Names page will display most related compound names used in the NAPRALERT database.

  • If substituents are present, the base name is followed by a comma followed by the substituents. For example, 2' hydroxy flavone should be searched as flavone,2'-hydroxy:. Note that the last substituent after the base name should be followed by a colon – thus 6'' o acetyl daidzin should be searched as daidzin,6''-o-acetyl:.
  • The substituents are arranged in alphabetic order after the base name; disregard prefixes such as di..., tri..., etc. Thus, "dihydroxy" is alphabetized as if it began with "h".
    Example: 2,3 dihydroxy 4 methoxy 3',7 dimethyl flavone – search as flavone,2-3-dihydroxy-4-methoxy-3'-7-dimethyl:
  • If the same substituent is present at different positions, they have been arranged in increasing order.
    Example: 5',3',4,6 tetrahydroxy flavone – search as flavone,3'-4-5'-6-tetrahydroxy:
    Example: 3',4',5 trihydroxy 3.6 dimethoxy flavone – search as flavone,3'-4'-5-trihydroxy-3-6-dimethoxy:
  • Hyphens separate numbers from letters and functionalities from one another.
    Example: 2,5 dimethoxy apigenin – search as apigenin,2-5-dimethoxy:
  • For hyphens within the base name, base names often include carbon numbers of unsaturations and structural details. Final vowels are dropped if the next letter following the number is a vowel. Compare these two examples – you'll see that he final 'a' is dropped only in the 2nd example.
    • labda-8-13-diene
    • labd-8-ene
  • Exceptions to the alphabetical rule for substituents are sugar moieties and parenthetical information.
    • Sugar (glycoside) groups. All glycosides are listed after the non-glycoside groups.
    • A space is left between the last group and the glycoside.
    Example: 4 methoxy flavone 7 o beta d glucoside — search as flavone,4-methoxy: 7-o-beta-d-glucoside
    Example: 3 o beta d glucopyranosyl phytolaccagenic acid 28 o beta d glucopyranosyl ester – search as phytolaccagenic acid ,3-o-beta-d-glucopyranosyl: 28-o-beta-d-glucopyranosyl ester
  • Functional groups which are themselves substituted are listed after the non-glycoside groups no space is left. Parentheses enclose the substituted group, e.g. flavone,4-methoxy-7-(2-hydroxy-ethyl):
    Greek symbols are spelled out, i.e Alpha, Beta, etc.
  • Prefixes
    • Prefixes which indicate an altered base structure are written immediately following the comma after the base name.
      Example: (+) dihydro kawain — search as kawain,dihydro: (+):
      Example: methyl ether of iseugenol — search as eugenol,iso: methyl ether
      Example: Isorhamnetin — search as rhamnetin,iso:
    • However, the prefixes Bicyclo- and Bis- and Cyclo- are not separated from the base name.
      Example: Isobicyclogermacrene – search as bicyclogermacrene,iso:
    • Greek letters are spelled out in English – trans is used for E and cis is used for Z E & Z always appear in front of the number (position) they represent.
      Example: deca 2Z,8E diene – search as deca-cis-2-trans-8-diene
      Example: cholesta 5,22Z diene 3 beta ol – search as cholesta-5-cis-22-dien-3-beta-ol
    • Within a functional group parts are separated by a hyphen.
      Example: Example: 8 isovaleroyloxy kaurane – search as kaurane,8-iso-valeroyl-oxy:
    • Compounds with '#' sign at the end of some compounds indicates that two different compounds have been assigned the same name in different papers, e.g.
      foetidin (steroid)
      foetidin# (coumarin)
      foetidin## (diterpene)
    • Compounds with an '*' indicates that they are synthetic or semisynthetic or unnatural derivative compounds.
    • We have synonyms for most common compounds, e.g. flavone,5-7-dihydroxy-8-methoxy: is synonymous with wogonin (wogonin is used in the database).
    • Some compound names are actually extracts, e.g

How to navigate NAPRALERT searchess

1. Once successfully registered and logged-in, access will be given to the NAPRALERT REPORTS function, found on the bar at the top of the homepage.

2. Select the REPORTS button, in order to begin to query NAPRALERT and generate reports of interest.

3. Given that there are competing and evolving taxonomies and naming conventions, it may prove useful to first verify the name of the compound or organism, including organism common name(s) for which you seek information.

4. In the pull-down menu, the user may choose either MY REPORTS, or one of four different NAPRALERT query protocols- COMPOUND, ORGANISM, ACTIVITY or AUTHORS.

5. Useful details on COMPOUND and PHARMACOLOGY-based searching of NAPRALERT are available here (link to pharm, complex compd searches blurb on help page)

6. COMPOUND queries provide data on Organisms from which a compound of interest was isolated, and/or Biological activity reported for that compound. In addition, Compound searches can be limited to specific year or range of years, as well as by author(s).

7. ACTIVITY queries can provide data on Organism biological activity (including information on reported ethnomedical use, extract(s) and compound(s) tested. It is possible to select specific Experimental Biological Test types, including: in vivo in vitro, in humans, on plants, as well as comprehensive (all types of biological testing). In addition, Activity searches can be limited to specific year or range of years, as well as by author(s).

8. ORGANISM queries provide data on Ethnomedical information, compounds isolated and/or Experimental Biological testing reported for an organism of interest. Queries may be conducted on a Genus or species or interest. It is possible to select specific Experimental Biological Test types, including: in vivo in vitro, in humans, on plants, as well as comprehensive (all types of biological testing). In addition, Organism searches can be limited to specific year or range of years, as well as by author(s).

9. AUTHOR-based queries can be performed. Citations where the author of interest is a (co)author can be identified. Use of the wildcard (%) can help to locate the author of interest.

10. The MY REPORTS functionality is where you will find reports that have been generated, once you have requested a report based on the data of interest generated from your NAPRALERT queries. Further instructions on successfully generating a NAPRALERT report are included below.

11. CHECK- The first thing that happens when you assemble your NAPRALERT query using the Report functionality is that you will Check your query. Once you click the check button, the number of citations generated by your query is reported, including the number of citations per each information type. Perform the search and refine it as you see fit, based upon the raw numbers of records and citations returned.

12. Once verified, you will click the ADD REPORT button. A report number (in blue color) will be added to your list of reports. By clicking on the blue hyperlink, you are taken to the REQUEST functionality. Clicking the request button, you will be prompted to CONFIRM your report selection. Once confirmed, the appropriate number of citation credits will be withdrawn from your account, and the report will be added to your MY REPORTS page. Depending on the size of the report, and the amount of traffic on the NAPRALERT server, your report may be in Requested (blue-green) or Generated (green) status. Once the report is in Generated status, click on the corresponding blue button containing the requested report number to view your report (in html format).

13. Regarding Weekly limits on free searches, and retrieving additional citations for a query that contains more than 50 citations: Each week you will be given a credit to retrieve an additional 50 citations, up to your annual limit.. You can use these to complete a previous query, or use them for an entirely different query. Once an annual limit is reached, free weekly citation credits will not be issued until you have reached your annual anniversary (the date you were authorized to query the database and generate reports. Your weekly citation limits also depend on the date of your authorization.).

14. When a query generates more citations than your weekly limit, the following protocol will provide you with additional citations for your query.

  • Login, and go to My Reports folder
  • In the Actions column to the right of the page, click on the yellow-colored $Request button.
  • You will be provided your remaining query data, up to an additional 50 citations per week, or until you reach your annual free citations limit.
  • All user-generated reports will be maintained in your “My Reports” page, unless you choose to delete them.