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Acupuncture Today – July, 2012, Vol. 13, Issue 07

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Endorses AHPA's Botanical Authentication Program

The Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM) has formally endorsed the American Herbal Products Association's (AHPA) Botanical Authentication Program "as a valuable program supporting ongoing quality assurance in the herbal products industry."

CCAOM, formed in 1982, seeks to advance acupuncture and Oriental medicine by promoting educational excellence. Fifty-four U.S. schools and colleges are currently members of CCAOM.

The Botanical Authentication Program endorsement came during CCAOM's recent business meeting in Chicago.

Under the AHPA Botanical Authentication Program, which currently consists of two components: identification of known adulterants and information on analytical methods that can be used to ensure botanical identity, AHPA provides methods of ingredient identification and analysis for five herbal ingredients, one toxic botanical constituent, and one non-botanical supplement ingredient, including:

  • Aristolochic acid
  • Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) fruit extract
  • Black cohosh (Actaea racemosa syn. Cimicifuga racemosa) root /rhizome
  • Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) root
  • Hoodia gordonii stem
  • Glycerin
  • Star anise (Illicium verum)

Created in 1997, AHPA's Guidance on Known Adulterants identifies herbs and potential adulterants that are known to be in trade. The list identifies safety-related substitutions, such as Digitalis lanata leaf for plantain (Plantago lanceolata) leaf, and safety- and economic-based substitutions, such as red dye #2 (amaranth dye) for bilberry fruit extract. The current list of articles of trade and their known adulterants is available on the AHPA website.

"This endorsement confirms AHPA's belief that its efforts over the last 15 years to ensure that manufacturers of herbal products have the tools they need to address adulteration issues when they arise is of value to acupuncturists who use herbal products," said Michael McGuffin, AHPA president. "We're pleased to offer this resource to the acupuncture community and look forward to the expansion of the AHPA Botanical Authentication Program."

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