Natural Health Science Foundation (NHSF) Accreditation

Product Accreditation

To achieve the goal to assist informed choice, it is essential that consumers, health professionals and the media are able to identify natural health products with specific evidence.

Since 2017 the Foundation has worked with many stakeholders to develop a transparent, robust and independent review process of natural health products. The agreed process is described below.

Equivalence and Quality Principles for Herbal Medicines White Paper

This was first published in 2017 to describe the NHSF’s principles concerning herbal medicine quality and equivalence. This is the basis upon which a product can be described as “essentially the same” from a quality, efficacy and safety point of view as the specific product used in a clinical trial. This is also known as “batch to batch reproducibility”.

NHSF Product Review Process

This is an overview of the process and how it is managed to deliver a transparent, robust and independent review of specific products.

Product Accreditation – flowchart

This is a short summary of the sequence of the accreditation process.

Assessment checklist QUALITY AND EQUIVALENCE for Herbal Medicines

The first step is for the product to be demonstrated as equivalent (“essentially the same”) as the product used in a clinical trial. If there are multiple active herbal extracts in the product, a separate submission is required for each active.

Assessment checklist EFFICACY Natural Medicines

Having established that the product on the market is equivalent to that used in a clinical trial, the clinical trial is assessed to see if the evidence demonstrated in the clinical trial supports a health benefit.

Professional Accreditation

To assist consumers, media and health professionals understand that evidence for natural health products is product specific, the NHSF is developing courses to explain why this is so and what it means for them. These courses have been available from mid 2020.

Successful completion of these courses will allow students to understand the quality and evidence issues around natural health products.

Any health professionals completing this course, and maintaining their knowledge every year, will be entitled to be “Accredited by NHSF” to indicate that they understand the variability of natural health products and the value of reproducible, specific evidence products.

Accredited health professionals will be placed on a database and promoted to the broader community around the world. The goal of this accreditation is to assist consumers find health professionals that can guide their choice of product based on specific evidence.