Close Menu

David Picking

Research Fellow



    I came to Jamaica in 2008 having completed 5 years training as medical herbalist & naturopath at the School of Integrated Health, University of Westminster, in central London. With a love of Jamaica, I was truly blessed to be awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship and the opportunity to undertake research towards the successful completion of my PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Rupika Delgoda and Dr. Sylvia Mitchell.  
    I am currently a postdoctoral Research Fellow here at the Natural Products Institute. My research to date has focused on the contemporary use of medicinal plants by Jamaicans with completion of a TRAMIL survey and a recent survey in collaboration with Dr. Ina Vandebroek of The New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). The TRAMIL network (Traditional Medicines in the Islands) studies, validates and expands medicinal plant use in primary healthcare across the Caribbean. Through the work undertaken, UWI was able to fulfil Jamaica’s commitment, contributing to the TRAMIL database and online pharmacopeia (, and adding to the body of knowledge from over 50 surveys, completed across the Caribbean region to date. Our collaboration with NYBG, to date, has led to the documentation and distribution of a community book detailing both the traditional knowledge and scientific data for 25 commonly used medicinal plants. A second volume, detailing a further 25 plants, is planned for 2018/2019. 
    Following the TRAMIL survey my research focused initially on shortlisting and screening a number of medicinal plants for their potential impact on pharmaceutical drugs. Initial laboratory screening enables identification of those plants that might cause medicinal plant-drug interactions and the shortlisting of these plants for further clinical studies. Through these screenings, clinical studies and the wider work of TRAMIL the aim is to communicate ethnopharmacological information on Caribbean medicinal plants to local doctors, pharmacists and other health care professionals. Longer term, the aim of our research is to support the development of a strong evidence base for safe medicinal plant use within the Jamaican healthcare system and to support the development of a successful Jamaican nutraceutical industry.

    Select Journal Publications

    Journal Articles

    • Vandebroek, I., Picking, D., Tretina, J., West, J., Grizzle, M., Sweil, D., Green, U., Lindsay, D. (2021) Root tonics and resilience: Building strength, health, and heritage in Jamaica. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems 5: 640171. doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2021.640171
    • Vandebroek, I., Pieroni, A., Stepp, J.R., Hanazaki, N., Ladio, A., Alves, R.R.N., Picking, D., Delgoda, R., Maroyi, A., van Andel, T., Quave, C.L., Paniagua-Zambrana, N.Y., Bussmann, R.W., Odonne, G., Abbasi, A.M., Albuquerque, U.P., Baker, J., Kutz, S., Timsina, S., Shigeta, M., Ribeiro de Oliveira, T.P., Hurrell, J.A., Arenas, P.M., Puentes, J.P., Hug, J., Yeşil, Y., Jean Pierre, Magule Olango, T., Dahdouh-Guebas, F. (2020) Reshaping the future of ethnobiology research after the COVID-19 pandemic. Nature Plants 6: 723-730.
    • Picking, D., Delgoda, R., Vandebroek, I (2019). Traditional knowledge systems and the role of traditional medicine in Jamaica. CAB Reviews 14: 1-13. DOI:10.1079/PAVSNNR201914045
    • Vandebroek, I., Picking, D., Aiken, S., Lewis, P.A., Oberli, A., Mitchell, D., Boom, B. (2018) A review of Antigonon leptopus Hook. & Arn. (Polygonaceae): An invasive and popular urban bush medicine in Jamaica. Economic Botany 72: 229-245. DOI: 10.1007/s12231-018-9415-5
    • Picking, D., Chambers, B., Barker, J., Shah, I., Porter, R., Naughton, D., Delgoda, R. (2018) Inhibition of cytochrome P450 activities by extracts of Hyptis verticilatta Jacq.: Assessment for potential herb-drug interactions. Molecules 23: 430.
    • Murray, J., Picking, D., Lamm, A., McKenzie, J., Hartley, S., Watson, C., Williams, L., Lowe, H., Delgoda, R. (2016) Significant inhibitory impact of dibenzyl trisulfide and extracts of Petiveria alliacea on the activities of major drug-metabolizing enzymes in vitro: An assessment of the potential for medicinal plant-drug interactions. Fitoterapia 111: 138-146.
    • Picking, D., Delgoda, R., Younger, N., Germosén-Robineaua, L., Boulogne, I., Mitchell, S. (2015) TRAMIL ethnomedicinal survey in Jamaica. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 169: 314-327.
    • Picking, D., Delgoda, R., Boulogne, I.,  and Mitchell, S. (2013) Hyptis verticillata Jacq: A review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry, pharmacology and toxicology. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 147: 16–41.
    • Picking D., Younger N., Mitchell S., Delgoda R. (2011) The prevalence of herbal medicine home use and concomitant use with pharmaceutical medicines in Jamaica. Journal of Ethnopharmacology 137: 305– 311.
    • Mitchell S.A., Jagnarine R.D., Simmonds R., Francis T., Picking D. and Ahmad M.H. (2008) A journey through the medicinal plant industry of the Caribbean highlighting Mona’s contribution. Caribbean Quarterly 112(3): 440-4.



    • Vandebroek I., Picking D. (Eds.) (2020) Popular medicinal plants in Portland and Kingston, Jamaica. Second edition. Advances in Economic Botany. NYBG Press and Springer. DOI:10.1007/978-3-030-48927-4 
    • Vandebroek, I. and Picking, D. (Eds.) (2016) Popular Medicinal Plants in Portland and Kingston, Jamaica. New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) & the University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica (Funded by National Geographic). 191 pages. Community book donated to study participants and 275 donated to the National Library Service of Jamaica.  
    • Delgoda, R. and Picking, D. (2015) Potential Drug Interactions for Commonly Used Medicinal Plants and Foods in Jamaica. Handbook for Healthcare Professionals. Natural Products Institute, University of the West Indies, Mona, Kingston, Jamaica. 23 pages.


    Book Chapters

    • Picking, D., Vandebroek, I. (2019) “Traditional and Local Knowledge Systems in the Caribbean: Jamaica as a case study” in “Traditional and Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the Modern Era: A Natural and Applied Science Perspective”, Katerere, D., Applequist, W., Aboyade, O., Togo, C. (ed.), CRC Press, Florida. DOI: 10.1201/b21965-5
    • Picking, D. (2017) “Global regulatory framework for medicinal plants” in “Pharmacognosy: Fundamentals, Applications and Strategy”, Badal, S and Delgoda, R (Eds), Elsevier, London. pp 663-675.
    • Turfus, S.C., Delgoda, R., Picking, D., Gurley, B.J. (2017) “Pharmacokinetics” in “Pharmacognosy: Fundamentals, Applications and Strategy”, Badal, S. and Delgoda, R (ed.), Elsevier, London. pp 495-512.
    • Delgoda, R. and Picking, D. (2015). “The Pivotal Role of Scientific Research in the Development of the Nutraceutical Industry in Jamaica” in “Jamaica’s Nutraceuticals: Opening the Door to Their Potential”, Lowe, H. and Morrison, E (ed.), Pelican Publishers, Kingston. pp 96-103.


    Research Projects

    Subscribe to RSS - David Picking
    Top of Page