University of Philippines Manila

Palacpac presents 1st PH Herbal Pharmacopoeia in 4th PH Herbal Medicine Summit

In a significant leap towards advancing the national and scientific utilization of Philippine medicinal plants, the completed version of the first Philippine Herbal Pharmacopoeia (PHP) was presented to the participants of the 4th Philippine Herbal Medicine Summit by Prof. Jocelyn Bautista Palacpac, National Institutes of Health – Institute of Herbal Medicine (NIH-IHM) Assistant Director and a distinguished faculty member of the UP College of Pharmacy.

“After three years, this book (PHP) was created by the combined efforts of experts from the academe, the PITAHC (Philippine Institute Of Traditional And Alternative Health Care), FDA (Food and Drug Administration), the pharmaceutical industry, and other scientific disciplines, a landmark event in the promotion of national and other scientific use of Philippine medicinal plants,” stated Prof. Palacpac.

“We look forward to the declaration and adoption of the PHP as an official reference of standards for medicinal plants, and its eventual publication to be available for the public.”

Prof. Jocelyn Bautista Palacpac

Expressing her desire for the establishment of a permanent Philippine Herbal Pharmacopoeia organization, she emphasized the significance of ensuring the continual publication and updates of the PHP, recognizing that the task of pharmacopoeia work is continuous and requires permanent funding.

The Pharmacopoeia in Philippine History

Historically, medicinal substance preparation in the Philippines lacked accepted standards, posing risks to public safety. Thus, a pharmacopoeia stands as a vital reference manual, setting standards and guidelines for pharmaceutical preparation, formulation, quality control, and dispensing. It ensures uniformity, quality, and safety, serving as a guiding document for pharmacists, healthcare professionals, and pharmaceutical
manufacturers under regulatory authority.

In the 1930s, Dr. Patrocinio B. Valenzuela advocated for a Philippine National Formulary, which was eventually published in 1978 with 84 monographs on local medicinal plants. Still another pivotal moment was the release of the 2004 Philippines Pharmacopoeia 1 (PP1), featuring synthetic medicines and medicinal plants based on folkloric use. Recent advancements in healthcare technology as well as rising prices of medicines have fueled a rising demand for herbal products, presenting economic opportunities aligned with consumer preferences for natural health solutions. Thus, in 2019, the PHP project was begun, aiming to develop an updated pharmacopoeia of Philippine herbal medicines and medicinal plants.

The PHP steering committee meticulously prioritized the inclusion of medicinal plants and herbal medicines based on criteria, such as indigenous or endemic status, traditional use for at least fifty years in the Philippines, proven efficacy and safety according to the Department of Health (DOH) Administrative Order (AO) 172 series of 2004, registration as an herbal medicine with the Philippine FDA, recommendation by the DOH, or with the approval of the steering committee supported by studies indicating efficacy and safety.

Comprising 38 monographs of 15 Philippine medicinal plants, the PHP provides detailed information on scientific names, common names, chemical constituents, morphological descriptions, warnings, and more.

Charmaine A. Lingdas

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