What are medicinal herbs?
Herbal medicines are gaining in acceptance and popularity as their clinical efficacy, phytochemical constituents and mechanisms of action are gradually being elucidated. However, in order to gain wider credibility, they must undergo more rigorous scientific scrutiny not only for efficacy and safety, but also in terms of quality and stability of active constituents.
Medicinal Herb Research
The herbal medicine facility at Ourimbah has established a reputation in the area of herbal quality. Three projects aimed at determining the loss of active constituents from plant to manufactured product have been successfully completed for echinacea, ginseng and valerian. From these projects have come a series of recommendations for the herb industry regarding quality control of herbal products. Eight papers have been published in this area so far. Methods of analysis have been established for ginsenosides in ginseng via links with the Ginseng Growers Association.
Another area of study is into the evaluation of traditional medicines from indigenous plants, assessing levels of biological/pharmacological activity and examining seasonal factors and growing conditions on levels of bioactive constituents.
Andrew Pengelly is the lead scientist involved with this research theme. Examples of ongoing projects include:
- Distribution and efficacy of flavonoids and related phytochemicals from Dodonaea in wound healing
- Alkaloids in Hydrastis canadensis
Contacts - Andrew Pengelly, Ron Wills or Paul Roach