World Health Organization (2003)
Traditional medicines, particularly herbal medicines, have been increasingly used worldwide during the last two decades. Unfortunately, the number of reports of patients experiencing negative health consequences caused by the use of herbal medicines has also been increasing. Analysis and studies have revealed a variety of reasons for such problems. One of the major causes of reported adverse events is directly linked to the poor quality of herbal medicines, including raw medicinal plant materials. It has therefore been recognized that insufficient attention has been paid to the quality assurance and control of herbal medicines.
By resolution WHA56.31 on traditional medicine, Member States requested WHO “to provide technical support for development of methodology to monitor or ensure product safety, efficiency and quality, preparation of guidelines, and promotion of exchange of information”. WHO has developed a series of technical guidelines relating to the quality control of herbal medicines of which these WHO guidelines on good agricultural and collection practices (GACP) for medicinal plants are the latest. The guidelines provide a detailed description of the techniques and measures required for the appropriate cultivation and collection of medicinal plants and for the recording and documentation of necessary data and information during their processing.