- Traditional Medicine > Traditional, Complementary and Herbal Medicine
- Quality and Safety: Medicines > Quality Assurance
(2003; 80 pages) [French] [Spanish]
4.1.2. Primary processing
Appropriate measures of primary processing are dependent on the individual materials. These processes should be carried out in conformity with national and/or regional quality standards, regulations and norms. In some cases, purchasers may request that specific protocols are followed. These protocols should also comply with national and/or regional regulatory requirements that apply in the producer and the purchaser countries.
As far as possible, standard operating procedures should be followed. If modifications are made, they should be justified by adequate test data demonstrating that the quality of the medicinal plant material is not diminished.
Harvested or collected raw medicinal plant materials should be promptly unloaded and unpacked upon arrival at the processing facility. Prior to processing, the medicinal plant materials should be protected from rain, moisture and any other conditions that might cause deterioration. Medicinal plant materials should be exposed to direct sunlight only where there is a specific need for this mode of drying.
Medicinal plant materials that are to be used in the fresh state should be harvested/collected and delivered as quickly as possible to the processing facility in order to prevent microbial fermentation and thermal degradation. The materials may be stored under refrigeration, in jars, in sandboxes, or using enzymatic and other appropriate conservation measures immediately following harvest/collection and during transit to the end-user. The use of preservatives should be avoided. If used, they should conform to national and/or regional regulations for growers/collectors and end-users.
Medicinal plant materials that are to be employed fresh should be stored under refrigeration, in jars, in sandboxes, or using enzymatic or other appropriate conservation measures, and transported to the end-user in the most expeditious manner possible. The use of preservatives should be avoided. If used, this should be documented and they should conform to national and/or regional regulatory requirements in both the source country and the end-user country.
All medicinal plant materials should be inspected during the primary-processing stages of production, and any substandard products or foreign matter should be eliminated mechanically or by hand. For example, dried medicinal plant materials should be inspected, sieved or winnowed to remove discoloured, mouldy or damaged materials, as well as soil, stones and other foreign matter. Mechanical devices such as sieves should be regularly cleaned and maintained.
All processed medicinal plant materials should be protected from contamination and decomposition as well as from insects, rodents, birds and other pests, and from livestock and domestic animals.