The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has launched the AHPA Botanical Identity References Compendium as a resource for manufacturers and researchers to accurately identify botanical ingredients.
The AHPA Compendium is a cooperative and centralized source of information on physical characteristics and test methods that can be used by qualified and experienced analysts to determine the identity of plant species and articles of trade obtained from these plants. It currently provides such information for nearly 200 commonly used botanical species, and will continue to be expanded by AHPA staff and by participating contributors.
The AHPA Compendium provides examples of unique identifying characteristics and specific analytical methods for each of the listed species that may be applicable to the plant itself or to natural products produced from the plant. This information is presented in one or more of the following fields:
- Voucher specimen images
- Organoleptic descriptions
- Macroscopic images and descriptions
- Microscopic images and descriptions
- Chromatographic methods (e.g., TLC, HPTLC, HPLC)
- Reviews of certain known adulterants
- Links to abstracts of relevant publications
This free, publicly accessible resource combines materials from open-source academic documents with information generously donated by Alkemist Labs, American Herbal Pharmacopeia, Botanical Liaisons, CAMAG Laboratories, ChromaDex, GRACE, the HPTLC Association, Mountain Rose Herbs, PlantaPhile, PhytoLab, and U.S. Pharmacopeia.
AHPA encourages labs, companies, educational institutions and other organizations to contribute additional information to increase the scope and depth of this resource. The AHPA Compendium was built on an expandable platform that will incorporate additional methods and botanicals developed and donated by industry experts. An advisory panel will use a rigorous vetting process to evaluate all information that is posted to the Compendium.
"The AHPA Compendium is an evolving tool that will respond to the changing needs of its users to provide timely and relevant information," said Merle Zimmermann, Ph.D., AHPA's chief information analyst who oversees the Compendium. "As more information is contributed and the website grows, it will be an increasingly valuable tool to verify the identity of herbal ingredients."
"Botanical authentication has always been a top priority for AHPA and the herbal products industry," said Maged Sharaf, PhD, AHPA's chief science officer. "Providing means to accurately identify ingredients efficiently is just one of the ways AHPA serves its members and the industry at large."