Botanicals Identification and Testing Course


January 17 – 18, 2023

2 days


About This Course

This training provides an overview of the guidance on testing methodology, specifications and ingredient identification for botanicals. Combining extensive industry experience and real-world case studies with flexible and convenient training, participants in NSF’s botanical identification and testing course will:

  • Identify botanical unknowns
  • Investigate the characterization of botanicals
  • Differentiate between natural and adulterated botanicals
  • Review organoleptic characterization
  • Learn how high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) can be used for testing adulterated botanical identification
  • Make sense of complex steps to ensure testing methods are scientifically valid for species identification

Botanical Identification - Methods in Chemistry

In this section, you will learn about:

  • Adulteration in botanicals
  • Complexity within botanicals
  • Variations
  • Reference materials
  • Evaluation tools
  • Spectroscopic techniques
  • Chromatographic techniques
  • Spectrometric techniques
  • Spectroscopic techniques
  • Genomic techniques

Botanical Identification - Macroscopic, Microscopic and Organoleptic Techniques

In this section, you will learn about:

  • Herbs in supplements
  • Brief overview of Good Agricultural and Collection Practices and Good Manufacturing for Botanical Materials
  • Specifications
  • 21 CFR Part 111
    • Subpart E 111.70 Establishment of specification for identity, purity, strengths and composition
    • Subpart J 111:320 Requirements for laboratory methods for testing and examination
    • Subpart E 111.75 Meeting specifications/test methods
  • Selecting scientifically valid methods
  • Botanical identification, adulteration
  • Review organoleptic characterization


Botanical Identification - Methods in Chemistry Instructor: John Travis

John Travis has more than 25 years of experience as an analytical chemist specializing in the analysis of dietary supplements. As Senior Research Scientist at NSF, John analyzes dietary supplement products for various contaminants, emerging drugs and harmful compounds and verifies ingredient identity and label claims.

Utilizing a variety of analytical techniques, John has developed and validated analytical methods for the analysis of dietary supplements. He was instrumental in the development of the screening methods used for the NSF Certified for Sport® program, which now screens products for more than 270 banned substances on the World Anti-Doping Agency list.

Botanical Identification - Macroscopic, Microscopic and Organoleptic Techniques Instructor: Dr. Holly Johnson

Dr. Johnson earned a Bachelor of Science in botany and a Ph.D. in pharmacognosy specializing in medical ethnobotany. She was awarded an NIH fellowship doctoral training at the University of Illinois-Chicago Center for Botanical Dietary Supplements Research. She did extensive lab and fieldwork, completing a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Institute for Ethnomedicine in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Dr. Johnson is a member of the United States Pharmacoepia’s Cannabis Expert Panel, serves on the Journal of AOAC International’s editorial board, and also on the American Botanical Council’s and the American Herbal Pharmacoepia’s advisory boards.