Although herbal medicines used by traditional systems of medicine have been tested through long historical practice, scientific research on herbal medicines will provide additional evidence of their safety and efficacy. Research will also provide data on herbal medicines to meet regulatory requirements. However, respect of the principles of the traditional system of medicine under study must be an important consideration when the research project is prepared, conducted and evaluated. The Research guidelines for evaluating the safety and efficacy of herbal medicines, prepared by the WHO Regional Office for the Western Pacific, provide suggestions and guidance on research methodology on pharmacodynamic and general pharmacological studies, toxicity investigations and clinical trials.
Efforts should be made to upgrade research capability in the field of herbal medicines. Research should initially be utilization-based and preferably include the participation of practitioners and consumers to ensure maximum support from the community.
Whenever necessary, research projects should be conducted in collaboration, involving various research agencies.