Quality Control, GMP, Toxicology and Scheduled Herbs

with Chanchal Cabrera, April 13-14, 2019

Course Information


Quality Control and Good Manufacturing Practices for Herbalists

From personal dispensary to full scale factory, there are numerous principles and practices that ensure safety, accuracy and accountability in herbal medicine.  They are the least a consumer expects of you and they are mostly also required by law. This extensive review of the herbal industry will consider field and farming practices, harvesting and processing practices, how and where adulteration or contamination can occur and how to recognize it, hazard mitigation, traceability and transparency, regulations and requirements of law.  It will include a practical session where students will learn to apply organoleptic skills to raw herbs.

Class Outline:

  • overview of the industry – what is selling, in what channels and how much?
  • what is meant by ‘QC”
  • adulteration, contamination, substitution
  • Botanical Adulterants Program
  • Organoleptic evaluation – including a break out session with a hands-on exercise
  • Microscopic evaluation
  • Product purity
  • Plant variability
  • Marker compounds
  • Certificates of Analysis
  • Good Agriculture Practices (GAP):
    • Safety, quality assurance and traceability
    • Natural Health Products and Health Canada regulations
    • Good Manufacturing Practices – Hazard Analysis Critical Control Points
    • Adverse Event reporting

Learning Objectives:

By completion of this class the student will:

  • Be able to describe the key identifying features of good quality botanical products.
  • Be able to identify hazard points in herbal manufacturing – where and why contamination or adulteration can occur and how to avoid it.
  • Discuss manufacturing issues and regulatory affairs affecting the botanical market.


Toxicology and Scheduled Herbs

  • Discuss toxicology as it applies to botanicals, safety guidelines and adverse events.
  • Review rules, regulations and practicing with botanicals in Canada – NHPD, NPNs and scheduled herbs.
  • Consider the use of toxic botanicals and safe dosing strategies for a variety of herbs including:
  • Aconitum napellus
  • Cineraria maritima
  • Bryonia spp
  • Convallaria majalis
  • Datura stramonium
  • Digitalis purpurea
  • Ephedra sinica
  • Gelsemium sempervirens
  • Hyoscyamus niger
  • Phytolacca americana
  • Piper methysticum
  • Rauwolfia serpentine
  • Veratrum album/viride

Learning Objectives:

By the end of this class students will be able to:

  • Discuss safety issues with botanicals including herb / drug interactions and contra-indications
  • Describe the safe and appropriate use of toxic botanicals and be able to recognize adverse effects.
  • Describe the relative risk:benefit ratio of botanicals and use of toxics in clinical practice.
  • Locate and comprehend schedules of restricted herbs in Canada.
  • Understand why some herbs are scheduled and determine when and how those herbs may be used, under what circumstances.

Course Instructor

Chanchal Cabrera has been a member of the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (UK) since 1987 and obtained her MSc in herbal medicine at the University of Wales in 2003. Her clinical specialty is helping people manage cancer. Chanchal has held the faculty chair in Botanical Medicine at the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in New Westminster since 2004. She serves on the board of advisors of Dominion Herbal College in Burnaby, on the editorial board of Medical Herbalism clinical newsletter and she publishes widely in professional journals and lectures internationally on medical herbalism, nutrition and health. Chanchal is the author of the book ‘Fibromyalgia – A Journey Toward Healing’ published by Contemporary Books. She is a certified Master Gardener and a certified Horticulture Therapist.

Chanchal lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia where she and her husband farm 7 acres. They grow food for 10 households, culinary herbs for restaurants and medicinal herbs for her clinic. They also run therapy gardens for people with disabilities and host internships in organic farming and herbal medicine. In 2009 Chanchal was honored with a Fellowship in the NIMH for service to the profession over 25 years.

Course Dates

Saturday and Sunday, April 13-14, 2019, 9:00am- 5:00pm

Course Tuition

Regular – $300 (Early Bird – $285, until February 1)
Students* – $275 (Early Bird – $250, until February 1)
PRC Alumni – $285 (Early Bird – $265, until February 1)
*PRC diploma students will receive 1 WHS academic credit for this workshop.

Course Prerequisite

BMS112 Botany/Horticulture (45 hours) or comparable course

Course Registration

To register, please click on the registration button below. Full payment is due at time of registration to confirm placement in the course. Payment can be made via MasterCard or Visa, debit, cash and cheque.

Withdrawal Policy

For course withdrawals submitted in writing or in person 30 days or more before the start of the course, registrants will receive a full tuition refund less a $40 non-refundable registration fee. For course withdrawals submitted in writing or in person more than 14 days but less than 30 days before the start of the course, registrants will receive a 50% tuition refund. Without exception, no refunds will be given for course withdrawals less than 14 days before the start of the course.

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