Herbal medicines have provided the world’s populations, including Americans, with safe, effective and low cost medicines for centuries. They have a rich and extensive historical basis in use and study which can be referenced to ancient medical writings. More importantly, modern research has validated many of the traditional uses ascribed to herbs. When integrated into medical care with other medications, botanicals can provide consumers and patients with the best chance for maintaining a high quality of life and, in some cases, increase their chance of survival. They can also fill therapeutic niches that are not adequately addressed through conventional therapies. As botanical supplements are integrated into the health care programs of more and more people, it becomes necessary that information regarding their optimal use be made available. Similarly, independent quality control requirements for producing herbal products need to be established to ensure that the highest degree of safety and effectiveness is achieved. Information relative to their safe clinical use, toxicology, interactions with conventional drugs, etc., is especially important to safeguard the public health.
While herbal medicines are well integrated into the health care systems of many other nations, this is not the case in the U.S. Authoritative information regarding proper use and manufacture of herbal medicines is lacking. The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia® and Therapeutic Compendium was founded to address this deficiency.