The American Botanical Council (ABC) has selected The American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP)'s microscopy book titled ‘Botanical Pharmacognosy: Microscopic Characterization of Botanical Medicines’ for the 2012 James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award under the category of reference and technical book.
AHP’s Executive Director, Roy Upton edited the 773-page microscopy book, which comprises two sections. The first section is a 10-chapter introduction describing the art of microscopy and the second is a botanical microscopy atlas that comprises over 135 in-depth descriptions of the cell structure or histology of certain widely utilized medicinal plants in the North American region and across the world.
In his preface to the textbook, Upton explains the significance of microscopy to the study of medicines of natural source called pharmacognosy and its current position as a ‘dying art’ in Europe and North America. The effort in creating microscopic characterizations for monographs of AHP as a basic identity test has emphasized the value and significance of microscopy as a tool for quality assessment.
Earlier microscopy texts provided limited tools for identifying plants and they often relied on single, unverified botanical specimens with images of only the powdered stuff. In contrast, AHP's text comprises conscientiously authenticated samples with full-color pictures powder substances, plant parts and complex line drawings.
Upton believes that his textbook will be helpful to readers to understand the use of microscopy as a minimal environmental impact, low cost and efficient quality assessment tool for identifying species and plants and for detecting impurities such as adulterants.