Institute of Medicinal Plant Development

The Institute of Medicinal Plant Development (IMPLAD) and the Beijing Medicinal Plant Garden, affiliated with CAMS and PUMC, were established in August 1983. IMPLAD’s headquarters is located in the Zhongguancun Scientific and Technical Zone, Beijing, with branches in Yunnan, Hainan, Guizhou, and Hubei provinces, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region, Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, and the city of Chongqing. One of the premier academic institutes in the world dedicated to medicinal plant research, IMPLAD is the only national research institution in China specializing in the protection, development, and utilization of medicinal plant resources. It is playing a leading role in research on Chinese medicinal herbs, and is a World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Traditional Medicine.

The current generation of IMPLAD researchers maintains the spirit of the institute’s founding motto, “seeking truth and scientific development,” and is continuing its tradition of innovation. As was affirmed at the institute’s 30th anniversary in 2013, IMPLAD aims to be an innovator in the field of medicinal plant research and play a role in its rejuvenation.

To that end, IMPLAD plans to unite individual medicinal plant gardens into an alliance across China to create a national system of research in medicinal plants. The institute is promoting the conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plant resources and is building an innovation database of knowledge that incorporates Chinese medicine resources, information on the cultivation of medicinal plants and on the chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology, and biotechnology of natural medicines.

IMPLAD has a team of highly educated and energetic researchers specializing in Chinese medicine, among them Xiao Peigen, the founder of pharmacophylogenetics and a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, who has been honored as the “living traditional Chinese medicine dictionary.” The IMPLAD faculty includes 178 professors and associate professors.
The institute stresses the rapid commercialization of scientific achievements. Since its foundation, IMPLAD has undertaken more than 840 national key projects with nearly RMB500 million (US$76 million) in funding. Institute researchers have published more than 3,500 papers, including more than 500 listed in the Science Citation Index over the past 5 years. IMPLAD scientists have applied for 219 patents, of which 55 have been granted. The institute has received 80 provincial prizes and eight national prizes. More than 100 monographs have been compiled, including “Chinese Materia Medica,” “Cultivation of Chinese Medicinal Plants,” and “Chinese Medicinal Mycology,” among others. The institute has graduated 588 postgraduates and hosted 48 postdoctoral fellows.
From the start, IMPLAD has being active in international academic exchanges, and has established cooperative relationships with academic institutions in more than 50 countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Canada, Japan, Peru, Italy, Germany, Korea, and Luxembourg.

IMPLAD emphasizes the transformation of scientific achievements into socially useful products. It has successfully introduced and put into large-scale production the plant products Rhizoma Gastrodiae (tian ma), Radix Panacis QuinquefoliI (American ginseng), Rhizoma Coptidis, and Fructus Amomi (sha ren), which have brought in a total profit of RMB7 billion (US$1.66 billion) to date. The institute has also established strategic relationships with Guizhou, Yunnan, and Hainan provinces, and Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which are cooperating in the cultivation of medicinal plants and drug discovery research, with a potential economic value of more than RMB10 billion (US$1.52 billion).