Herbalomic Quality Control Method and Fingerprint Database

Herbalomic Quality Control Method and Fingerprint Database

Funded by Zimbabwe Manpower Development Fund (ZIMDEF)


The herbal market is rapidly growing, with an estimated annual sales figure of $115 billion by 2020. It is estimated by WHO that 80% of the African population have used herbal medicines. 25% of medicines in the developed world are known to be adulterated; a substantial proportion of those are herbal based products. This poses a risk to the end user (pesticide contamination, counterfeit product, product variation leading to under and overdosing). National regulators do not have a quality control test that is routine, easy to use, affordable, and has a wider applicability and ability to decipher numerous potential problems associated with herbal products. The product developed consists of a method and a database of fingerprint of constituents of herbal products. The same method can be used for different herbal products from different geographical origins and grown in different seasons. It is able to discern the variations brought about by these conditions. The database can be used to compare a standard herbal profile to one claiming to be similar within a certain acceptable degree.

The project involves:
• Validating a quality control method and fingerprint database through:
• Identification of herbal products to be included in the optimisation phase.
• Optimisation of the extraction method; algorithm and coding of database.
• Developing and implement a business model for the commercialisation of the solution that ensures product customer fit, scalability, sustainability and profitability.

The availability of such a test will ensure regulators can ensure safe, quality and effective products enter the markets. With the technology, manufacturers will be able to avoid variation of the products they produce and optimise their production processes, while growers of herbs can maintain consistent agricultural practices and, mostly importantly, consumers are assured of the quality of products they buy in the market. The presence of such a test will meet an unmet need for different players in the herbal industry all aimed at guaranteeing a consistent product. The product and service provide a seal of approval that will add value to the herbal product.


Prof. Dexter Tagwireyi
Medicines Authority of Zimbabwe

Mr Roy Chihaka
University of Zimbabwe

Prof. Paul Steenkamp
University of Johannesburg – South Africa

Mr Shingai Gwatidzo
Medicines Authority of Zimbabwe

Mr Isaac Chafera
eLearning Solutions – Zimbabwe

Prof. Collen Masimirembwa
African Institute of Biomedical Science and
Technology (AiBST) – Zimbabwe

Project Type

Seed project

Countries involved