Herbal products such as teas, dietary supplements, drugs and cosmetics are widely available in the United States and internationally. The botanical ingredients for these products come from all over the world and are obtained from both cultivated and wild-harvested plants. Many manufacturers produce some or all of their own herbal ingredients, while some buy these directly from farmers and collectors. Others obtain their herbal ingredients through distribution channels that can include several stages between the harvest of a plant and the manufacture of finished products that contain the plant or ingredients derived from the plant. Regardless of these trade variables, agricultural and collection practice has product quality, cultural, and environmental implications.
The goals of this guidance document, published by the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) and the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), are to ensure that herbal raw materials are accurately identified and are not adulterated with contaminants that may present a public health risk, are in full conformity with all of the quality characteristics for which they are represented, and are harvested and cultivated in a manner that is environmentally sustainable. The GACP has relevance to herbal raw materials in all herbal products, including foods, dietary supplements, drugs, cosmetics, etc. It is intended to have applications to all herbal raw material producers, both large and small and whether producing herbs by cultivation of by harvesting from the wild.
AHPA Educational Tele-Seminar: Good Agricultural and Collection Practice
The new GMPs regulations for dietary supplements require manufacturers to establish quality specifications for identity, purity, strength, and composition, and limits on contaminants. For herbal products, that quality begins in the soil and is the first link in the GMP chain. All raw materials — whether grown on a farm or gathered in the wild — must be grown and handled properly after harvest or collection in order to meet those GMP quality standards. This two-hour tele-seminar provides information on getting the best quality raw materials from the field or forest, and how the grower and wildcrafter can meet buyers’ standards.
- American Ginseng Stewardship
Available at the above link are 19 versions of the AHPA Good Stewardship Harvesting of WIld American Ginseng brochure, one for each of the states that allow export of wild American ginseng. Each of the state-specific brochures presents information about the particular rules that apply to harvesters and buyers of wild American ginseng in that state, and also provides contact information for the relevant state regulatory offices.There is also a brochure that presents information about the regulations for exporting wild American ginseng.