The ISE promotes a critical discussion between everyone interested in local and traditional knowledge on medicinal, food and toxic plants and their past, present and future use.

In many regions of the world such knowledge is changing fast and an ongoing concern of many members of the society is both a dialogue with the owners of traditional knowledge and to find ways to ascertain that such knowledge is passed on to future generations. Knowledge about traditional drugs/medicines is put into practice in different cultural settings in daily health care, nutrition, veterinary, hunting, pest control etc. We are interested in the perception and the interface of the emic and ethic perspective of such knowledge and we encourage and promote the future use of such local and traditional knowledge. Our research approach is increasingly transdisciplinary trying to strengthen the link between the social and the natural sciences.

The Society not only organises regular meetings and promotes research and publication but also offers multiple ways to exchange information between scientists and anyone else interested in such topics.


Ethnopharmacology is a young and fast developing area of research. The term was first used in 1967 in the context of the study of hallucinogenic plants. The Society started at the first congress of ethnopharmacology in Strasbourg, 1990, and today is registered as a charity under the law of Michigan.