Guidelines for the Appropriate use of Herbal Medicines
(1998; 88 pages)
Table of Contents
View the documentForeword
Close this folder1. Introduction
View the document1.1 The role of herbal medicines
View the document1.2 WHO's policy on herbal medicines
View the document1.3 The need for the guidelines on appropriate use of herbal medicines
Open this folder and view contents2. Goals and objectives of the guidelines
View the document3. Definitions
Open this folder and view contents4. National policy development
Open this folder and view contents5. Development of a national programme on herbal medicines
Open this folder and view contents6. Regulation of practitioners
Open this folder and view contents7. Regulation of the manufacture and distribution of medicinal herbal products
Open this folder and view contents8. Regulation of herbal medicines
View the document9. Use of the guidelines
View the documentAnnex 1: Report of the meeting of the working group on herbal medicines
View the documentAnnex 2: List of temporary advisers, consultants, observers and secretariat
View the documentAnnex 3: Agenda
View the documentAnnex 4: Opening Speech of Dr S.T. Han, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Region Working Group on Herbal Medicines, 8 December 1997, Manila, Philippines
View the documentAnnex 5: Closing Remarks of Dr S.T. Han, WHO Regional Director for the Western Pacific Working Group on Herbal Medicines, 12 December 1997, Manila, Philippines
View the documentReferences
 

1.2 WHO's policy on herbal medicines

The World Health Organization is fully aware of the importance of herbal medicines to many of its Member States and supports the use of medicinal plants and their products. In early 1978, the World Health Assembly, the WHO governing body, adopted a resolution on drug policies and management of medicinal plants, which recognized the importance of medicinal plants in the health care system. The World Health Assembly proposed coordinating efforts through the preparation of an inventory of medicinal plants, the development of criteria and methods for proving the safety and efficacy of medicinal plant products, and the dissemination of relevant information. In 1987, 1988 and 1989, three more resolutions were adopted covering the identification, evaluation, preparation, cultivation, utilization, regulation and conservation of medicinal plants.

Based on those resolutions, WHO's policy on herbal medicine may be summarized as follows:

(1) WHO is fully aware of the importance of herbal medicines for the health of a large number of the population in today's world. Herbal medicines are recognized as valuable and readily available resources, and their appropriate use is encouraged;

(2) To promote the proper use of medicinal plants, a comprehensive programme for their identification, evaluation, preparation, cultivation, recognition as valuable and readily available resources, and their appropriate use is encouraged;

(3) It is necessary to make a systematic inventory and assessment (pre-clinical and clinical) of medicinal plants; to introduce measures on the regulation of herbal medicines to ensure quality control of herbal products by using modern techniques, applying suitable standards and good manufacturing practices; and to include herbal medicines in the national standard or pharmacopoeia.

(4) As many of the plants that provide traditional and modern drugs are threatened with extinction, WHO endorses the call for international cooperation and coordination to establish programmes for the conservation of medicinal plants, to ensure that adequate quantities are available for future generations.

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