Botanical Identification: The foundation of herbal ingredient identification and how to work with suppliers to ensure botanical authenticity
On July 12, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) conducted the first of an eight-part webinar series on the challenges and solutions of botanical ingredient identification. The series hosted by BioNetwork Asheville, N.C., and which will run monthly until February 2014, is designed to introduce quality control analysts to the primary tools used in botanical ingredient identification and quality assurance with a specific focus of highlighting when a particular method is scientifically valid or not. According to AHP Executive Director Roy Upton, "FDA 483 letters consistently show that many product manufacturers do not have adequate specifications and are not applying analytical methodologies in a scientifically valid way. This can result in either false positives or false negatives and in either case is a violation of GMPs.”
The first of the series discussed the strengths and weaknesses and specific application of various testing methodologies from botanical identification to DNA and a host of physical and chemical tests in-between, including morphology, microscopy, HPTLC, HPLC, IR technologies, and molecular testing. In summary, a primary message of the presenters is that seldom will a single test be sufficient for meeting the required GMPs for botanical ingredients. According to co-presenter James Kababick of Flora Research Laboratories, Grant’s Pass, Ore., "Many analysts believe that natural products chemistry is simple. They wish for a black box approach in which a single method will give them all the results they need. This is rarely the case and industry must learn that natural products analysis is both an art and science that requires trained and experienced personnel applying the suite of analytical tools that are available."
AHP monographs are recognized industry wide as setting the bar for botanical characterization. This series is a complement to the monographs and AHP-Verified Botanical Reference Materials program. One of the webinar attendees, Marian Boardley, an industry GMP consultant commented, "There have been a lot of GMP seminars over the years that touch on various aspects of herbal identification but nothing as specific as AHP's series; that is why I signed up."
Next webinar: August 21, 2013, 1-2:30 pm EST For detailed information on the topics and dates of the upcoming webinars or to register visit: herbal-ahp.org or pharmacognosy.eventbrite.com.