We have recently argued that value chain analysis needs to be used more systematically in order to better understand the sometimes complex interventions involved in bringing a finished herbal medical and functional food product onto the market (Booker et al 2014). This raises important questions in the context of producers': and other stakeholders livelihoods (Booker et al 2016), which need to be addressed, but it also offers a framework for assessing the quality of products available to consumers and patients. Quality is generally only assessed in a formal way in regulated markets and as such local and traditional systems of medicine will often not regard formal procedures as a relevant topic. However, with the development of traditional systems of practice integrated or in parallel with national biomedical healthcare provision, the topic has become relevant and is address in a variety of disciplines, including public health and in medical practice. At the same time, often it is not (yet) a topic in the context of ethnopharmacological research. Using our research on Aristolochia and the associated serious bealth risks I want to highlight the urgent need to systematically combine the individual elements which are also in place in our research, including research on interaction risks, general safety and contamination. However, a kev area which seems to have practically no attention is the varying composition of such products, and how this impacts on uality, We are consistently moving into a more and more glohalized environment and the supply of herbal medicines now needs an integrated strategy in order to ascertain best practice of proUCts Which some years ago were local products and now are national or global commodities.
Cite this article: