Herbal monographs in national pharmacopoeias and other authorative documents play an important role in the authentication of herbal materials. In this context a monograph is a document that defines a botanical drug and provides information that allows for its proper identification.
In Australia, herbal raw materials are required to be authenticated to the relevant monograph in the British Pharmacopoeia, if such a monograph exists. Other official pharmacopoeias, such as the European Pharmacopoeia, the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China, the United States Pharmacopoeia and National Formulary, and the Indian Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeia, contain monographs for many medicinal plant species not included in the British Pharmacopoeia.
Pharmacopoeial monographs for medicinal plants often describe several methods of identification. A herbal monograph in the British Pharmacopoeia, for example, will typically include a macroscopic description, a microscopic description, and a thin-layer chromatography test.
The Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China (PPRC) (English Edition 2000) contains monographs for hundreds of medicinal plants used in Traditional Chinese Medicine.