Editor's Note
This paper investigates traditional uses of botanicals in supplements for nutritional or physiological benefits. The authors conclude that traditional use knowledge is: recognized in different regions of the world; additional to scientific data and often the only evidence available; and a strong body of observational evidence that is sufficient to support the safety and health benefits of traditional preparations of botanicals with a long history of use. The paper notes that the extent to which the available data is acceptable and supports the safety and benefit of a botanical depends on the volume and quality of the data and that this data needs to be assessed by experts. "Developing a common basis for performing these expert assessments may lead to recognition of the safety and benefit of a botanical in different parts of the world and provide a strong basis for making the traditional health benefits of many botanicals available to people all over the globe," the authors state. The full paper is available on the AHPA website.

Botanicals are used worldwide in food and supplements for their nutritional and physiological effects and have become part of the local and regional cultural heritage. The use of botanicals has evolved from experience over a long period of time, often over centuries. Folk knowledge of this use has been passed on from generation to generation and later been systematically recorded. This information is collectively called ‘traditional use’ and is the largest body of observational evidence in humans available. It is recognised as a valid body of knowledge to support the safe use of botanicals and document their health benefits. This paper describes the experience on how traditional use is accepted as a basis for support of the safety and benefits for health of botanical preparations used in food supplements. It proposes a common basis for themutual acceptance of the evidence as assessed by expert judgement that may lead to recognition of the safety and benefits of botanicals in different parts of the world.