About the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

There is no higher religion than human service. To work for the common good is the greatest creed.

Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) German theologian, philosopher, physician, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, 1953

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The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) is very much a work for the common good. AHP was founded in 1995 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) educational foundation dedicated to the advancement of knowledge and quality of medicinal herbal products and herbal dietary supplements. The purpose for doing this is to break down the many barriers and fears that prevent the complete integration of herbal medicines into our health care system and our lives. Humans and plants have coevolved for many millennia, and we believe that plant-based medicines are the most appropriate therapeutic agents for human use. Environmentally, plant-based medicines represent the only sustainable pharmacologically based form of medicine on the planet.

The societal acceptance of herbal medicine can justify preservation of wild and natural habitats for medicinal plant production and generation of local economies, can provide an alternative to the chemical degradation and pollution that occur from the manufacture of conventional pharmaceuticals, and, when done optimally, can help to build a new world. It is said that the only commodity that we cannot create more of is land, but farmers do it everyday—compost replenishes the earth and medicinal plant compost rules! This is the larger goal and vision of AHP—to cultivate a deeper relationship between humans and plants through health and medicine; we very much see this as a service to humankind.

On the practical, everyday level, AHP's primary role is to develop quality control monographs and authenticated reference materials for analytical work and to produce tools such as Microscopic Characterization of Botanical Medicines that can be used in the quality assessment of herbal products. AHP also conducts critical reviews of the available thera peutic and safety data that exist on herbal medicines. This latter information is presented in the "Therapeutic Compendium" portion of AHP monographs.

AHP monographs are considerably different from most pharmacopoeial monographs, which establish and provide guidelines for identification, purity, and minimal quality along with the appropriate tests for meeting these standards. There is much more to quality assessment of herbal medicines than compliance with a set of standards or concentration of an individual constituent. Rather, all aspects of harvest and processing of the plant can affect the quality of the finished product. One cannot test quality into a product. As the saying goes, "Garbage in—garbage out." The quality of a plant-based product begins with quality land and growing conditions, as well as careful harvest and processing throughout every step to the finished product.

Also, compliance with an individual compound alone cannot guarantee quality and, ultimately, efficacy. AHP monographs provide several bodies of information integral to the production of a quality botanical medicine encompassing both traditional and modern knowledge. When all of these bodies of information are utilized in conjunction with established pharmacopoeial standards, the likelihood for true quality and efficacy is greater than that for compliance with the standards alone.

In addition to the establishment of specific standards, AHP monographs are designed to reeducate those involved in all aspects of the herbal products industry to both gross and subtle techniques of herbal quality assessment. Doing it once in an AHP monograph means that 500 herbal companies do not have to duplicate the work.

The "Therapeutic Compendium" is designed to present a comprehensive and critical review of the available data on the efficacy and safety of the botanicals. As with the quality and standards portion of each monograph, the "Therapeutic Compendium" similarly encompasses the authoritative traditional knowledge that most commonly forms the basis of herbal medicine use worldwide, as well as critical reviews of the available modern clinical and pharmacological data. These reviews include all available data, taking into account the full range of evidence-based criteria from meta-analyses and controlled trials to the opinions of experts. Few other sources of information provide this level of comprehensiveness, and AHP monographs truly represent a review of the totality of publicly available informa-tion—a legal requirement of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA).

The desire of the AHP is for each monograph to have the highest degree of accuracy, comprehensiveness, and clinical usefulness attainable. This is accomplished by subjecting each monograph to a multidisciplinary review that includes some of the most experienced medicinal plant experts internationally and includes botanists, herbalists, chemists, pharmacologists, pharmacognosists, pharmacists, physicians, and toxicologists. As with all pharmacopoeias worldwide, people who are dedicated to the common good of creating an herbal knowledge base for present and future generations provide the majority of the work on a volunteer basis. For all the contributions made to AHP, we are eternally grateful.

In addition to producing AHP monographs and the "Therapeutic Compendium," AHP also provides industry with a variety of botanical and chemical reference materials, designated as AHP-verified, to be used in the quality assessment of raw botanical materials and extracts. These reference materials have been independently tested and reviewed to ensure accuracy in identity, quality, and purity. AHP-verified botanical reference materials are available directly from AHP. AHP-verified chemical reference materials are developed in partnership with Chromadex (Irvine, California) and are available directly from Chromadex.

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American Herbal Pharmacopoeia: Botanical Pharmacognosy—Microscopic Characterization of Botanical Medicines will be the first in a number of texts produced by AHP to focus on various aspects of botanical medicine quality assessment and classical botanical pharmacognosy.

Become a Supporting Member of AHP

In addition to the volunteer work provided, the work of AHP is made possible by revenues generated through the sale of AHP-verified botanical and chemical reference materials, and individual, organizational, and corporate memberships and tax-deductible contributions. AHP has various categories of membership, from students and institutions to corporations, and a variety of membership benefits that include a subscription to AHP monographs and our quarterly Herbal QRS Bulletin, which focuses on issues of herbal quality, research and safety, access to unpublished AHP materials, and the knowledge that your membership is helping to improve the integrity of herbal medicine worldwide. Membership information can be accessed at the AHP Web site (www.herbal-ahp.org).

American Herbal Pharmacopoeia PO Box 66809 Scotts Valley, CA 95067 USA

www.herbal-ahp.org [email protected] (+1) 831-461-6318

100 Health Tips

100 Health Tips

Breakfast is the most vital meal. It should not be missed in order to refuel your body from functional metabolic changes during long hours of sleep. It is best to include carbohydrates, fats and proteins for an ideal nutrition such as combinations of fresh fruits, bread toast and breakfast cereals with milk. Learn even more tips like these within this health tips guide.

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