New botanical guide provides identity info for supplements

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Botany Herb

A new resource on botanical extracts aims to provide guidance to industry on how to ensure the identity and efficacy of raw materials used in dietary supplements.

Published by the American Botanical Council (ABC) and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the guide is said to provide greater access to the information required for the accurate identification of medicinal plants.

The new resource – The Identification of Medicinal Plants: A Handbook of the Morphology of Botanicals in Commerce –​ will be particularly useful in light of the new supplement GMPs, which come into force this month for all mid-sized companies, said the industry group ABC.

These rules, which are being phased in over a three-year period, are designed to ensure the quality, efficacy and safety of dietary supplements sold in the United States.

Proper identity

“One of the primary tasks of quality control is the need to accurately ensure the proper identity of the raw materials that are processed and put into capsules, tablets, extracts and other forms of dietary supplements,”​ said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC.

“Identity can be particularly challenging in the area of herbal raw materials, where many plants, especially dried plants, may look alike to the untrained eye. This book will become a standard reference for all relevant parties in the herb industry to help ensure optimum quality control for the greatest benefit to consumers.”

150 species

The new handbook focuses on the visual, macroscopic identification of over 150 species of botanicals used in commercial herbal products in North America.

According to Wendy Applequist, PhD, a botanist and assistant curator at the Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis, the guide allows key information to reach a wider group of quality control and laboratory technicians in the herb and dietary supplement industry. It also acts as an information source for botanists, medicinal plant collectors, researchers, students, and others who study or deal with medicinal plants.

The handbook contains 113 botanical entries covering more than 150 different species of botanicals in commerce, as well as 87 detailed black-and-white line drawings, said ABC.

It also contains a brief review of basic plant structure, some practical advice on identification, an introduction to botanical nomenclature, a glossary, a reference list, and an index.

Priced at $89.95, the book is available via the ABC website​.

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