Identity testing is critical to assuring medicinal herb quality. To date, industry standards have varied and organizations like the FDA have increased their focus on quality assurance standards for natural medicines. Identity testing will play a critical role in herbal safety as the FDA acknowledges and establishes new industry standards for herbal medicines. The North Carolina Arboretum Germplasm Repository ,the research arm of The North Carolina Arboretum, an affiliate of Bent Creek Institute, Inc., will authenticate medicinal herbs using authoritative botanical identity confirmation methods in partnership with the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP).
Herbal identity testing will enable the Germplasm Repository to ensure herbal quality through scientifically validated research and serve as an important component in the application of natural biotechnology tools to the validation of traditionally recognized herbal medicines. Potential research resulting from a well-developed germplasm collection may include botanical and conservation research, molecular, chemical and genetic analysis, agricultural research, medical efficacy studies, and product development. Examples of potential projects include: analyses of metabolites of interest to the phytopharmaceutical industry, identification and characterization of new compounds with recognized bio-activity, native population studies, and ornamental breeding studies.