Book Review

Reference on Evaluating Botanicals

Marilyn Barrett
Council for Responsible Nutrition

Marilyn Barrett, PhD, is a pharmacognocist and consultant on botanical issues. She compiled this reference “. . . to give manufacturers, government officials, health-care providers, the media and consumers some perspectives on evaluating botanical products marketed as dietary supplements.” It explains the basic criteria for evaluation of a botanical’s regulatory status, safety and standardization. It also recognizes the six organizations that evaluate and write monographs on plants and botanicals: 1. United States Pharmacopeia and National Formulary – (USP-NF) 2. American Herbal Pharmacopeia and Therapeutic Compendium – (AHP) 3. British Herbal Pharmacopeia – (BHP) 4. German Commission E – Comm.E 5. European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy – ESCOP 6. World Health Organization – WHO This reference contains a review of more than 340 botanicals. Each botanical is shown in a table with its common and Galenical (Pharmacopeial) name, its Latin binomial, and monograph location(s) (USP-NF, AHP, BHP, Comm.E, ESCOP, WHO). It only contains the location of the monograph(s), not the monographs themselves. Barrett’s book can be used to determine the amount of research done on a particular botanical and can direct one to the source(s) of a monograph. The end of the reference contains an extensive list of resources for further information on botanicals and botanical research. This reference is not for everyone but does have its place in some pharmacies.


Reviewed By:  Dana Reed-Kane, PharmD, FIACP, FACA, FCP, NFPPhC
In:  Mar/Apr 1999