Challenges in Mining the Historical Literature for Herbal Monographs

by Roy Upton*, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Establishing an authoritative record of the historical use of a botanical is critical to the development of the Monographs and Therapeutic Compendiums of the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, especially in the USA where there is a very unhealthy distrust of anything herbal or knowledge gained through empiricism. As the work of AHP encompasses Western, Chinese, and Ayurvedic botanicals, in that order of priority, each presents its own challenges. The focus of this blog is to present some of the challenges we face and how we address these, from the perspective of a traditional herbal organization attempting to chronicle the authoritative historical medical use of plants but without the luxury of being academically trained historians.