WHO Guidelines on Good Agricultural and Collection Practices (GACP) for Medicinal Plants
(2003; 80 pages) [French] [Spanish] View the PDF document
Table of Contents
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentForeword
Open this folder and view contents1. General introduction
Close this folder2. Good agricultural practices for medicinal plants
Open this folder and view contents2.1. Identification/authentication of cultivated medicinal plants
View the document2.2. Seeds and other propagation materials
Close this folder2.3. Cultivation
View the document2.3.1. Site selection
View the document2.3.2. Ecological environment and social impact
View the document2.3.3. Climate
View the document2.3.4. Soil
View the document2.3.5. Irrigation and drainage
View the document2.3.6. Plant maintenance and protection
View the document2.4. Harvest
View the document2.5. Personnel
Open this folder and view contents3. Good collection practices for medicinal plants
Open this folder and view contents4. Common technical aspects of good agricultural practices for medicinal plants and good collection practices for medicinal plants
Open this folder and view contents5. Other relevant issues
View the documentBibliography
View the documentAnnex 1. Good Agricultural Practice for Traditional Chinese Medicinal Materials, People's Republic of China
Open this folder and view contentsAnnex 2. Points to Consider on Good Agricultural and Collection Practice for Starting Materials of Herbal Origin
View the documentAnnex 3. Good Agricultural and Collection Practices for Medicinal Plants (GACP), Japan
View the documentAnnex 4. A model structure for monographs on good agricultural practices for specific medicinal plants
View the documentAnnex 5. Sample record for cultivated medicinal plants
View the documentAnnex 6. Participants in the WHO Consultation on Good Agricultural and Field Collection Practices for Medicinal Plants
 

2.3.4. Soil

The soil should contain appropriate amounts of nutrients, organic matter and other elements to ensure optimal medicinal plant growth and quality. Optimal soil conditions, including soil type, drainage, moisture retention, fertility and pH, will be dictated by the selected medicinal plant species and/or target medicinal plant part.

The use of fertilizers is often indispensable in order to obtain large yields of medicinal plants. It is, however, necessary to ensure that correct types and quantities of fertilizers are used through agricultural research. In practice, organic and chemical fertilizers are used.

Human excreta must not be used as a fertilizer owing to the potential presence of infectious microorganisms or parasites. Animal manure should be thoroughly composted to meet safe sanitary standards of acceptable microbial limits and destroyed by the germination capacity of weeds. Any applications of animal manure should be documented. Chemical fertilizers that have been approved by the countries of cultivation and consumption should be used.

All fertilizing agents should be applied sparingly and in accordance with the needs of the particular medicinal plant species and supporting capacity of the soil. Fertilizers should be applied in such a manner as to minimize leaching.

Growers should implement practices that contribute to soil conservation and minimize erosion, for example, through the creation of streamside buffer zones and the planting of cover crops and "green manure" (crops grown to be ploughed in), such as alfalfa.

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