Herbal medicines have provided the world’s populations, including Americans, with safe, effective and low cost medicines for centuries. They have a rich and extensive historical basis in use and study which can be referenced to ancient medical writings. More importantly, modern research has validated many of the traditional uses ascribed to herbs. When integrated into medical care with other medications, botanicals can provide consumers and patients with the best chance for maintaining a high quality of life and, in some cases, increase their chance of survival. They can also fill therapeutic niches that are not adequately addressed through conventional therapies. As botanical supplements are integrated into the health care programs of more and more people, it becomes necessary that information regarding their optimal use be made available. Similarly, independent quality control requirements for producing herbal products need to be established to ensure that the highest degree of safety and effectiveness is achieved. Information relative to their safe clinical use, toxicology, interactions with conventional drugs, etc., is especially important to safeguard the public health.While herbal medicines are well integrated into the health care systems of many other nations, this is not the case in the U.S. Authoritative information regarding proper use and manufacture of herbal medicines is lacking. The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® and Therapeutic Compendium was founded to address this deficiency.
The Mission of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® (AHP) is to promote the responsible use of herbal medicines and ensure they are used with the highest possible degree of efficacy and safety. Our primary way to accomplish this is through the development of standards of identity, purity, and analysis for botanicals, as well as to critically review traditional and scientific data regarding their efficacy and safety. These works will be disseminated through a variety of AHP publications such as monographs, textbooks, and other educational materials; workshops and conferences; electronic media, and other avenues of distribution as are appropriate.
Scope of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia®
The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® began developing qualitative and therapeutic monographs in 1994, and intends to produce 300 monographs on botanicals, including many of the Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western herbs most frequently used in the United States. Once completed, these monographs represent the most comprehensive and critically reviewed body of information on herbal medicines in the English language, and will serve as a primary reference for academicians, health care providers, manufacturers, and regulators.