AHPA informs herbal protection body on goldenseal

By Clarisse Douaud

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags International trade Plant

American Herbal Products Association has presented comments to the
US Fish and Wildlife Service on revisions to its list of endangered
wild plant species to be protected from specimen trading -
particulary the natural antibiotic goldenseal.

AHPA president Michael McGuffin commented yesterday at an FWS public meeting that was convened to gather suggestions for the next summit of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). CITES is an agreement between 169 governments whose aim is to ensure international trade in specimens of wild animals and plants does not threaten their survival.

AHPA's input relates mainly to species that are not threatened with extinction, but may become so unless international trade is regulated in order to avoid uses incompatible with their survival. The association particularly pointed out the herbal goldenseal as unnecessarily included on this list.

"AHPA has provided data showing that only seven percent of the annual harvest of goldenseal root enters international trade,"​ said McGuffin. "Because there is no meaningful export of this species, goldenseal should not be listed on CITES, which intends to govern only species affected by international trade."

Goldenseal is an indigenous North American plant, the root of which has been used as a natural antibiotic, popular for colds and flus, as well as for gastric conditions.

"Further, the amount of cultivated goldenseal exceeds the quantity in international trade by a factor of three to one, a fact that FWS should also consider,"​ said McGuffin.

International trade of the species cited in Appendix II of CITES is allowed but is strictly controlled, and goldenseal has been included in this classification since 1997. AHPA said it has requested FWS remove goldenseal from Appendix II in the past, but that the government agency has yet to respond.

AHPA said it supports an FWS proposal to revise an exemption on finished products that contain some of the species listed on Appendix II.

"But this exception for finished products needs to be extended to all of the Appendix II listed species - both plant and animal - that are found in our products,"​ said McGuffin. "This change would eliminate unnecessary and redundant re-export certificates for finished products, as documentation requirements are met when raw materials first enter into international commerce."

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