QUALITY ASSURANCE OF MEDICINAL PLANTS
In order to ensure that plant medicines are safe and clinically effective it is essential that medicinal plants be assessed for their quality. As part of quality assurance procedures, specifications are required for individual medicinal plants and these include the correct botanical name, country of origin, time of harvest, characterisation by sensory, macroscopical, microscopical, chemical and chromatographic tests. Specific assay procedures, preferably for the active therapeutic ingredient are also required, but if this is not possible a non-specific assay should be undertaken or at least a soluble extractive test should be performed. Standards should be set for extraneous materials including foreign organic matter, other parts of the plant, moisture content, ash, insect, rodent, microbial contaminants, pesticides, fumigants, radioactivity and toxic metals.
David Phillipson, J. (1993). QUALITY ASSURANCE OF MEDICINAL PLANTS. Acta Hortic. 333, 117-122