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Phytopharmaceutical Technology.
by P.H. List and P.C. Schmidt. 1989. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. Hardcover, 374 pp. $93.95 ISBN 0-8493-7709-9. Available from ABC Books, item #B067.

This is the English translation of a work originally published in Germany in 1984. The authors are respected researchers at the Institute for Pharmaceutical Technology at the University of Marburg in Germany. This book is an excellent reference text for anyone in the herb manufacturing industry as well as anyone considering entry into this growing field. The authors provide detailed descriptions of the various manufacturing processes necessary to produce quality plant based products from a pharmaceutical perspective. They include the types of machinery necessary for various extraction processes, control procedures as well as a description of quality control and quality assurance measures used to ensure proper identity and Standards for finished products.

The opening, chapter is a detailed description of the various types of medicinal forms for herbs including juices, syrups, teas, extracts, powders, standardized extracts, tinctures, and vinegars. Chapter Two deals with starting materials, i.e., the crude botanical materials from which advance products are made and various methods to assure quality of these materials. The third chapter deals with extraction agents, i.e., solvents, such as various types of hydrocarbons, alcohols, ketones, esters, water, and oils.

The fourth chapter, the longest, deals with various processing techniques such as grinding, extraction, purification, concentration, drying of extracts, and recovery of essential oils. The fifth chapter details the apparatus and machinery useful in various stages of the processing of botanical preparations and botanical medicines. Chapter six deals with quality assurance issues, including physical quality assurance, quality assurance by cultivation, stability standards, and methods of stabilization. Finally, the last chapter deals with the further processing of finished medicines, such as the preparation of pills from dried extract, liquid dosage forms from fluid extracts and tinctures, and methods of preparation of phytopreparations.

The book is extensively referenced and contains numerous diagrams and drawings indicating various types of machinery utilized in the manufacturing process. In general, this book is highly technical and geared to those who are seriously involved with a pharmaceutical approach toward development of what was formerly termed as "phytopharmaceuticals" (a word that is now being replaced by the more preferred "phyto-medicines"). As the herb industry in the United States continues to become more sophisticated; and as legal and regulatory pressure mounts for increased quality assurance and quality control for herbal products; and as the herb industry continues to develop its own measures for self-regulation and increased quality standards, this book and similar publications (if and when they become available) will become part of the standard referenced text for development of the herb industry in the 21st century.

Article copyright American Botanical Council.


By Mark Blumenthal