Evaluation of botanicals for improving human health

David M. Ribnicky, Alexander Poulev, Barbara Schmidt, William T. Cefalu, Ilya Raskin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Botanical preparations have been used medicinally for thousands of years. Many commercially available botanical products are being marketed in the United States with little or no publicly available scientific validation of efficacy or consistency. For botanicals to be reliable for research purposes and consumer products, they must be standardized with sufficient quality controls to ensure consistent composition, safety, and potency. This includes uniform cultivation of source plants with controls to monitor for contamination from other species, pesticides, and environmental toxins. The active components of botanicals must be identified by activity-guided fractionation with the use of in vitro assays that require little test material followed by validation in vivo. Concentrations of active compounds within the botanicals can then be accurately measured to ensure the delivery of a dependable dose in the final product. The use of bioenhancing agents may be considered for compounds with poor bioavailability. Standardization of botanical therapeutics can only be achieved when the active compounds are identified and biological activity is confirmed, thus ensuring a consistent product.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)472S-475S
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • Bioactivity
  • Bioassay-guided fractionation
  • Bioenhancers
  • Botanicals
  • LC-MS analysis
  • Standardization


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