proposal for a guideline on the commercial collection of the medicinal plant
Harpagophytum procumbens from the environment
(GHP / GcoIP, Good Harvesting/Collecting Practice for Medecinal Plant-Material)
Text of the Guideline
Sustainable harvest in semi-wild populations of Harpagophytum
procumbens in the Kalahari of South Africa.
uses of Devil’s Claw
secondary root tubers of Harpagophytum procumbens are used as herbal
medicine in Europe for rheumatic diseases. The quality must be in accordance to
several European pharmacopoeias. Devil’s Claw is very famous especially in
Germany and therefore the demand of raw material is increasing.
of over-exploitation of Harpagophytum in some regions in Southern Africa there
was a proposal to include Harpagophytum in the endangered species list according
to Washington Convention during CITES meeting in Gigiri (Kenya) in April 2000.
After that it is necessary for German importers to get export licenses from the
local nature conservation authorities and import certificates from the German
Federal Agency for Nature Conservation. To obtain certificates according to
international rules endangered species must be harvested from cultivations or
collected in semi-wild populations by sustainable methods under supervision of
nature conservation services.
Medicinal product regulations
medicines must be produced according to Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP)
published by WHO. Raw plant material as a staring material for pharmaceutical
production has to be produced according to Good Agricultural Practice (GAP) if
the medicinal plant is cultivated on farms. For wild harvested medicinal herbs
recently a proposal was published for Good Harvesting/Collection Practice for
Medicinal Plant-Material (GHP/GCoIP).
object of this topic is the sustainable harvest in semi-wild populations of Harpagophytum
procumbens in communities in
the Kalahari of South Africa in agreement to these rules.
used to prepare this paper:
G.Harnischfeger, Salzgitter, Proposal GHP 1997
E.Schneider, Medicinal Plant Conservation Vol 4, Dec.
B.Hachfeld, Köln, personal communication 1999
S.Leloup, The grapple plant project, 4.report NIR
Gabarone, Botswana 1984
of the digging / collecting area and exact range definition:
Detailled maps with collecting areas
Marking this years areas for digging/collecting on
Definition of protected areas for regeneration. If
possible the collecting area is to divide in four quarters and harvesting takes
place only in one quarter every year.
of data on ecological conditions of the collecting area and its natural
Actual weather conditions during growing and
Specifics influencing the quality (e.g. other plants
at the same area as possible adulterants) (See
in population dynamics to avoid over-exploitation: (See
Transectwalks to count individuals of Harpagophytum:
(E.Schneider, 1997; B.Hachfeld, Köln, personal communication 1999)
Walk along transects of the area Harpagophytum occurs
and count the plant number along that transect of one meter width. Then
calculate the total numbers by extrapolating the counted number to the total
Mapping of plots:
Mark an area of 100 to 200 meters and plot the
individual plants of Harpagophytum and the main other plants occurring in that
area on a sheet of paper. Then count the number of Harpagophytum plants on that
map and calculate the total number by extrapolating the counted number to the
Repeat counting every year before harvesting time.
conditions of plants (growing conditions, insects feeding).
other plants in the same habitat. (See figure)
of endangered species:
Collect only an amount depending on permits of
Try to cultivate Harpagophytum near your house.
of all details of the collection area to be prepared for audits.
knowledge of the diggers about the identification or the plant to collect.
between the medicinal plant and close relatives and adulterations.
for optimum conditions for the time of harvesting.
hygiene, ill and persons with skin disorders are not allowed to harvest.
process for diggers/collectors to enhance the knowledge of harvesting procedure.
The figures in the annex may be used as a helpful tool.
a responsible person for organization of digging/harvesting/collecting, correct
identification of plants and compliance with rules.
at time of optimum conditions. Best time to harvest is in April, when the seed
pods are ripe. If the collecting area is divided in four quarters and harvesting
takes place only in one quarter every year then the harvest is possible from
October to April when the soil is wet and it is easy to dig. The earlier the
tuber is replanted in the season, the better are their chances for survival.
of clean and adequate equipment.
mechanical damage of the collected plant material and especially of the primary
the plant to regenerate and avoid devastation of the habitat:
Close the digging pits after harvesting. (See
Replant the primary root (the mother of Harpagophytum
Collect fruits of Harpagophytum and distribute the
seeds in the harvesting range to enhance the number of plants.
collected plants protected from any types of animals. Harpago tubers can be
stored in a dry place before slicing and drying.
of the responsible persons to enhance knowledge.
of Fresh Plant Material
for good weather conditions for slicing and drying.
during slicing adulterants and tubers destroyed by insects and tubers of red
clean and appropriate tools:
Use only clean brush and drinking water for washing
the tubers. (See figure)
For slicing harpago tubers only use stainless steel
knifes. (See figure)
The cutting board must only be used for cutting of
the tools and be aware of hygienic conditions during preparation.
preparing, the fresh material should be dried promptly
drying the plant material must be protected from rainfall and dew.
for drying must be clean, well aerated and never be used for animal keeping.
drying in a thin layer on nets in a sufficient distance from ground to provide
adequate air circulation. (See figure)
is possible to dry the sliced tubers on the clean roof of the house under
exposition to sunlight.
drying directly on the ground because of sand being blown on the fresh material.
plants during drying from any types of animals.
transportation of dried material use clean bags/containers and label properly. (See
Storage & Transportation
dried material to separate discoloured pieces and contaminants (moulds, tubers
of other plants). (See figure)
should be separated carefully.
material should be packed in clean containers and labelled properly.
the bags with dried material in well aerated warehouses never be used for animal
keeping and avoid any contact with moist and rain. (See
transportation clean the lorry/truck and be aware of proper equipment to avoid
contamination and contact with rain or dust during transportation.
of all steps of the campaign by collecting organization or local buyer, signed
by a responsible person and kept for 3 years. Add a short batch report to the
exported material (type of material – Harpago tuber slixed, sustainable
harvest/cultivated, collecting/cultivating area, community, harvest time,
permit, amount, responsible exporter).
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