Herbal Medicines Compendium
About the Herbal Medicines Compendium
Public standards are critically important to help ensure the quality of all medicines, including herbal medicines. The Herbal Medicines Compendium (HMC), published by the U.S. Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), is a freely available, online resource that provides standards for herbal ingredients used in herbal medicines. Standards are expressed primarily in monographs. A monograph contains general information including the definition of the herbal ingredient relative to the monograph title and then follows with a specification. The specification contains tests for critical quality attributes of the herbal ingredient and includes analytical test procedures and acceptance criteria for specified tests. USP’s HMC employs validated analytical procedures for the tests specified in its monographs, using state-of-the-art analytical techniques and allied reference materials. Additional analytical methods and approaches may be referenced in general chapters, which also are available online.
HMC standards may be adopted or adapted into a national pharmacopoeia or other related compendium. HMC standards may be used without charge or prior permission from USP. Herbal ingredients eligible for HMC standards include those that have been approved by a national authority for use in herbal medicines or are included in a national pharmacopoeia. HMC standards are developed and authorized by experts from around the world, via the volunteers who serve on the USP Council of Experts, the body that makes the organization’s scientific and standards-setting decisions. When coupled with sound registration processes and manufactured according to suitable Good Manufacturing Practices, standards in HMC can become an important part of the safety net that helps ensure access to good quality herbal medicines.