31 No. 1
Protocols on Safety, Efficacy, Standardization, and Documentation of Herbal Medicine (IUPAC Technical Report)
M. Mosihuzzaman and M. Iqbal Choudhary
Pure and Applied Chemistry, 2008
Vol. 80, No. 10, pp. 2195–2230
“Health for all” is a dream and a goal which humanity at large shares and strives for. Unfortunately, it has now been proven without doubt that modern pharmaceuticals are, and will remain, out of reach for a large proportion of the human population for the foreseeable future. This has created an appreciation and a need for the use of other sources of human knowledge to provide common health benefits. Alternative and traditional medicines, largely herbal in nature, are now regarded as important but under-utilized tools against disease. The World Health Organization recognized this fact in the early 1970s and encouraged governments to effectively utilize local knowledge of herbal medicines for disease prevention and health promotion. Herbal medicines, however, suffer from a range of shortcomings. These include insufficient and unacceptable evidence of safety, efficacy, standardization, and inconsistent production practices.
This technical report compiles and analyzes the current scientific knowledge on herbal medicine and highlights the practical ways for ensuring the safety of herbal preparations and evaluating their claimed efficacy. Emphasis has been given to the methods for standardization of herbal medicine and the ways and means for moving forward to achieve the difficult goal of preparing herbal medicines of consistent quality and effects. Pragmatic approaches have been recommended to overcome the difficulties in 1. protecting intellectual property rights; 2. producing safe, potent, standardized, and affordable herbal medicine; and 3. documenting the knowledge base on herbal medicine in an easily accessible format.
last modified 6 January 2009.
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