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American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® Responds to Black Cohosh Study

SCOTTS VALLEY, Calif. - In response to a recent article in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry that raised concerns on black cohosh supplements, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® today emphasized the critical role of AHP monographs for all those involved in commerce, manufacture, regulation or research of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa syn. Cimicifuga racemosa).

The article in the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry noted that three of eleven black cohosh supplements purchased in the United States actually contained a less expensive extract of Chinese cimicifuga.

"The article points out what AHP has already known about the issue of adulterations of black cohosh for many years," said Roy Upton, AHP executive director. "This once again highlights the importance of addressing the many quality issues required to create a strong foundation of quality for the botanical products industry, specifically with regard to quality control standards and monographs."

The primary mission of AHP, a California-based nonprofit research organization, is to develop quality control standards for herbal products through the publication of monographs, validated analytical methods, and efficacy and safety reviews of therapeutic data as well as to provide to the industry AHP-Verified™ botanical and chemical reference standards with which to carry out proper analytical methods.

With the black cohosh monograph, AHP has provided manufacturers, herb suppliers, regulators, and academicians with the guidance and tools needed to ensure the correct species is traded. Upton noted that the monograph includes both physical and chemical tests for ensuring the accuracy of the species.

Additionally, AHP also makes available authenticated botanical and chemical reference standards in order to conduct the appropriate tests for a definitive determination of identity. "This vertical integration of identity standards, validated analytical methods, and reference materials needed for testing provides a complete package for compliance with Good Manufacturing Practices."

AHP began developing qualitative and therapeutic monographs in 1994, with a goal of producing 300 monographs on botanicals, including many of the Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western herbs most frequently used in the United States. Once completed, these monographs represent the most comprehensive and critically reviewed body of information on herbal medicines in the English language, and will serve as a primary reference for academicians, health care providers, manufacturers and regulators.

For information regarding AHP and its projects, go to or call 831-461-6317.


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