German E Monographs

The German Commission E Monographs are a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine with 380 monographs evaluating the safety and efficacy of herbs for licensed medical prescribing in Germany. The commission itself was formed in 1978, and no longer exists.

The monographs were published between 1984 and 1994 in the Bundesanzeiger, they were not updated since then. A summary of the publications is available on the website of the commission, unofficial copies of the monographs are available at the Heilpflanzen-Welt Bibliothek.[1]

There is an English translation[2] by the American Botanical Council. But you have to subscribe to view most of the Monographs as you have to with Medline.



Criticism concerning the American version of the monographs

The Commission E Monographs were imported into the United States with considerable fanfare in 1998 by The American Botanical Council. They were unequivocally endorsed in a foreword by the late Varro Tyler, a well-known professor of pharmacognosy at Purdue University. Tyler states in his foreword that “…safety data were reviewed by the Commissioners according to a “doctrine of absolute proof” and efficacy according to a “doctrine of reasonable certainty.”

“Certainly worth studying, the Commission E monographs detail which herbs are approved or disapproved, along with their uses, dosages, contraindications, adverse effects, drug interactions, and pharmacologic actions. The therapeutic, taxonomic, and chemical indexes are helpful, as is the glossary.” — Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999[3]

The 1998 book mentioned 10 but omitted 11 possible fatal reactions to the medicines described.[3]

“All [of the monographs] lack literature references. . ..”[3]

The best known critic of Commission E is Jonathan Treasure, MNIMH, a UK licensed medical herbalist[4] and author of numerous herbalism monographs.[5]

Treasure’s lengthy review[6] (31K) offers detailed evidence that the book is not a work of science, medicine, or vitalist herbalism. Rather it is a book of German legal-medical regulations, since “In Germany, only those herbs with Commission E Approved status are (or will eventually become) legally available.”


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Complete German Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines, 1st ed. 1998, Integrative Medicine Communications, pub; Bk&CD-Rom edition, 1999.
  3. a b c Journal of the American Medical Association. 1999;281:1852-1853.
  4. ^ Treasure, Jonathan. “Author’s biography”. Herbal Educational Services.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Making Sense of Commission E, review by Jonathan Treasure, 1999-2000.

External links

This page is directly from Wikipedia but gives you the general background of the issue. I would like to thank the contributor for their efforts.