Natural Health Products Ingredients Database Web Application Guide

 

The Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) has changed its name to the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) subsequent to its recently expanded mandate to include the oversight of non-prescription and disinfectant drugs in addition to natural health products (NHPs). Please note that we are currently modifying documents to reflect this change.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

February 2011 – Version 2.1

About This Guide

This guide was developed to help users search and navigate the Natural Health Products Ingredients Database using the online Web application.

It provides an overview of the database and use of the Web application, and guidance on search and navigation of the detailed ingredient information therein.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction

The Web application provides an interface to the ingredient terminology used in the Natural Health Products Ingredients Database (NHPID), to Natural Health Products Directorate (NHPD) single-ingredient monographs and Abbreviated Labelling Standards (AbLS), and to controlled vocabulary used in the NHP Online Solution. More information about the scientific basis of the terminology is given in the Natural Health Products Online System Standard Terminology Guide.

1.1 Conventions Used in This Guide

The following conventions are used throughout this guide:

  • Quoted text ("") is used to identify button names, (for example: select the "Search" button.')
  • Italic text is used to identify query fields (for example the Search for field.)
  • Bold faced text is used to identify search terms (for example: potassium.)

2 The Database

The Natural Health Products Ingredients Database (NHPID) is a repository of pre-cleared information on natural health products adapted for the Natural Health Products Online System. Currently no single internationally agreed-upon list or primary reference exists which comprehensively covers all substances or terms pertaining to natural health products in Canada. Therefore, the NHP Online System uses a combination of two existing standards:

  1. Naming conventions for ingredients have been adapted from the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration Approved Terminology for Medicines (TGA hereafter.) Further refinements and modifications to the terminology are described in this document.
  2. Terminologies for dosage forms, routes of administration, and units and measurements have been adapted from the International Conference on Harmonization (ICH) M5 controlled lists.

More information about the scientific terminologies stored in the database can be found in the Natural Health Products Online System Standard Terminology Guide.

Currently the database can be accessed only through electronic Product License Application (e-PLA) forms and the Natural Health Products Ingredients Database Web application. The latter is described in this document.

2.1 Exclusions

The database excludes NHPD-approved ingredient information relating to:

  1. Product names;
  2. Proprietary flavours;
  3. Health claims;
  4. Risk information (available in a future release);
  5. Evidence information (available in a future release).

2.2 Stakeholders

NHPD internal and external stakeholders include:

  • Applicants who view ingredient information while preparing an application for submission to the NHPD;
  • Scientists and researchers;
  • Members of the general public; and
  • Internal users who maintain the NHP Ingredients Database and support validation of incoming product licence applications against the NHP Ingredients Database (in other words, Assessment Officers, Assessment Unit Heads, Assessment Managers, Submission Management Division and NHPD Management.)

3 The Web Application

The Web application provides the public with a user interface to the database. Select the Web application Natural Health Products Ingredients Database to access the database.

The NHPID main page allows a search on ingredients and a search on controlled vocabulary. It also contains links to user guides, a link to a list of monographs and labelling standards, along with a "What's New" button at the top. Clicking on the latter brings up a web page identifying recent additions to the database.

4 Searching for Information

A search engine on the main page of the Web application enables users to search and navigate effectively through the ingredient terminology and the controlled vocabulary defined in the NHPID. (See the Natural Health Products Online System Standard Terminology Guide.) The search engine accepts only simple queries; no operators (such as "and", "not", and "or") may be used.

4.1 Searching the Controlled Vocabularies

4.1.1 Searchable Terminology

The search engine allows a search on the terminology for the following controlled vocabularies:

  1. Chemical Classes;
  2. Chemical Subclasses;
  3. NHPD Classifications;
  4. Ingredient Categories;
  5. Routes of Administration;
  6. Units;
  7. Non-medicinal Purposes;
  8. Organism Parts;
  9. Organism Preparations;
  10. Geographical Distributions;
  11. Countries;
  12. Dosage Forms
  13. Solvents
  14. Organism Types; and
  15. Test Methods.

4.1.2 To Perform a Terminology Search

  1. From the controlled vocabulary search section of the main page, enter a search query in the Search for field (see example in Figure 1: Search Terminology Functionality: the Search for and Category Fields.) The information in Section 4.3 - Search Tips is applicable to both terminology and ingredient searches.
  2. Select the arrow button next to the Category field to select the type of controlled vocabulary from the drop-down list as in Figure 1: Search Terminology Functionality: the Search for and Category Fields. The options are listed in Section 4.1.1 - Searchable Terminology.
  3. Select the "Search" button to display the search results.
  4. If the search fails, see Section 4.3.1 - Unsuccessful Searches, search again using synonyms, see Section 4.3.2 - Spelling for alternate spelling, see Section 4.3.4 - Wildcard Characters, or try keyword combinations.


Figure 1: Search Terminology Functionality: the Search for and Category Fields

Figure 1: Search Terminology Functionality: the Search for and Category Fields

This image displays an example of the Controlled Vocabulary Search of the Web Application. The search query "capsule" has been entered in the Search For field. Beneath the Search For field, the arrow button next to the Category field has been selected to display a drop-down list to choose the desired type of controlled vocabulary. In this case, "Dosage Forms" has been selected.

4.2 Searching Ingredients

4.2.1 Searchable Information

Retrieval of ingredient information is achieved by searching on various pieces of information related to the ingredient itself. The search engine searches the following fields:

  • NHPID name;
  • Proper names;
  • Common names;
  • Taxonomical synonyms (Taxa); and
  • Chemical Abstract Service (CAS) numbers.

4.2.2 To Perform an Ingredient Search

  1. From the main page, enter a search query in the Search for field of the ingredient search section (see Figure 2: Search Terminology Functionality: the Search for and Role Fields). You can use wildcard characters or other search features (see Section 4.3 - Search Tips) to assist you in your search.
  2. Select the arrow button next to the Role field to select the role of the ingredient from the dropdown list. The options are Medicinal, Non-Medicinal, Non-Natural Health Product (NHP), Component, or All. For more information regarding ingredient roles, please see the Natural Health Products Online System Standard Terminology Guide.
  3. Select the "Search" button to display the search results.
  4. If the search is unsuccessful, search again using synonyms, alternate spelling, wildcard characters, or other combinations of keywords.


Figure 2: Search Terminology Functionality: the Search for and Role Fields

Figure 2: Search Terminology Functionality: the Search for and Role Fields

This image displays an example of the Ingredient Search of the Web Application. The Search for field has been left blank. Beneath the Search for field, the arrow button next to the Role field has been selected to display a drop-down list to choose the role of the ingredient. In this case, "All" has been selected.

Note:
  • Search queries are not case sensitive.
  • The search engine takes "single-word" queries only. A multiple-word query will be treated as a single word, (that is an expression to be searched for as a group of words and exactly as written.) The search engine will not separate the query's individual words and search each word separately.
  • The search engine recognizes accents.

4.3 Search Tips

4.3.1 Unsuccessful Searches

The most common reasons for unsuccessful searches are:

  • Spelling errors;
  • Using a brand name instead of an ingredient name; and
  • Using an ingredient name not contained in the database.

4.3.2 Spelling

In some cases there may be differences between the Canadian, American, and British spellings of ingredient names. There may also be more than one spelling for a Latin binomial name. While efforts have been made to capture as many variations as possible, not all spelling variants are included in the database. In these cases, try alternative spellings.

4.3.3 Using Quotation Marks

Enclosing a query in quotation marks (either single or double), will restrict the results of the query. The search engine in this case will return only records in which at least one of the fields searched is an exact match. Without quotation marks, the search engine returns all records that contain the query somewhere in the searched fields. For example, the query orange oil (with no quotation marks) returns all records which contain "orange oil", such as "Orange Oil", and "Orange Oil Distilled", while the query "orange oil" (in quotation marks) returns only "Orange Oil", and would not return "Orange Oil Distilled".

4.3.4 Wildcard Characters

Wildcard characters are special characters that can be typed in with search keywords to replace either zero, one or more characters in the search query. Queries with wildcard characters usually return many more results than queries without. See Table 1 below for acceptable wildcard characters and Table 2 for some search variation examples.

Table 1: Acceptable Wildcard Characters
Character Description
Asterisk (*) and percentage symbol (%) Either of these characters may be used to replace either zero, one or more real characters in a search query.
Underscore (_) An underscore (_) may be used to replace exactly one character.
Table 2: Search Variation Examples
Search text Notes Number of results in March 2010
Calcium or
*Calcium* or
%Calcium%
A search with Calcium is identical to a search with *Calcium* or %Calcium%. It returns all ingredients with one or more names containing the seven characters of the word Calcium in the order found in that word. 128
Calcium* or
Calcium%
A search with Calcium* or Calcium% returns all ingredients with names beginning with Calcium. 119
*Calcium or
%Calcium
A search with *Calcium or %Calcium returns all ingredients with names ending with Calcium. 10
"Calcium" A search with "Calcium" returns all ingredients with names exactly equivalent to Calcium. 1
CALCIUM or calcium or calCIUM The search engine is not case sensitive and thus treats Calcium, calcium, CALCIUM and calCIUM alike. 128
gélatin Because the search engine is accent sensitive, a search in French must include accents. 0 in English;
2 in French
*g_latin* By using the underscore character, the impact of the accent is removed. 2 in English;
2 in French

5 Exploring Ingredient Information

If an ingredient search is successful, a list of search results (ingredient names and synonyms) from the database will be shown as in Figure 3: Sample Ingredient Search Result. If a returned ingredient is associated to a monograph or an abbreviated labelling standard, this will be shown under a ‘Pre-Cleared Information’ section. By clicking on an ingredient, the following information can be seen:

  1. Ingredient names (NHPID name, proper names, common names, taxonomical synonyms, CAS registry number);
  2. Ingredient categories;
  3. Parent organism;
  4. Sub-ingredients;
  5. Source Materials;
  6. Organism parts and preparations;
  7. Ingredient roles;
  8. Route of administration information (It should be assumed that all routes of administration are acceptable unless specifically restricted. An example of a restriction is "Topical use only".);
  9. Toxicity restrictions;
  10. Additional Details.

The actual information shown will depend on the category of the ingredient and the availability of related data. For more information about ingredient categories, please see the Natural Health Products Online System Standard Terminology Guide.


Figure 3: Sample Search Result

Figure 3: Sample Search Result

This image displays a successful ingredient search by showing search results for the ingredient name that was entered for the initial search, and the resulting Proper Names and Common Names. In this example, “calcium*” has been entered in the Search for field, and “All” has been selected for the Role field. The example also displays the search result table with the statement “Your search found 166 ingredients”.  The following column headings are provided in the results section: Ingredient, Proper Name(s), and Common Name(s). Results are shown for ingredients ‘Acamprosate calcium’, ‘Calcium’ and ‘Calcium 4-methyl-w-oxovalerate’.  Some pre-cleared information links are given with the results of ingredient ‘Calcium’.

Select a hyperlinked ingredient name to retrieve detailed information about the ingredient.

5.1 Chemical

A typical data layout of the terminology elements for a chemical is shown below in Figure 4: Typical Data Layout of a Chemical Substance with the following information:

  1. Proper name and common name details;
  2. Chemical structure;
  3. Definition of Schedule 1 term;
  4. Information on sub-ingredient and contents of the sub-ingredient if available;
  5. CAS registry number detail and other registry number details;
  6. Reference details; and
  7. Non-medicinal purpose details and other details related to the ingredient roles.


Figure 4: Typical Data Layout of a Chemical Substance

Figure 4: Typical Data Layout of a Chemical Substance

This image displays a typical data layout of the terminology elements for a chemical substance. In this example, the chemical substance section is displaying the data layout for the NHPID name "Calcium sulfate" with the following information: Proper Name(s), Common Name(s), Category, Structure, Schedule 1, Sub-ingredient(s), CAS Registry Number, and Reference. The bottom of the example includes the "Roles" section that shows the Medicinal Rationale, and the Non-medicinal Purposes.

Select hyperlinked texts to retrieve detailed information associated with the text.

5.2 Protein

A typical data layout for a protein is shown in Figure 5: Typical Data Layout of a Protein Substance below with the following information:

  1. Proper name and common name details;
  2. Definition of Schedule 1 term;
  3. CAS registry number details and other registry number details;
  4. Source material details;
  5. Reference details; and
  6. Other details related to the ingredient roles.


Figure 5: Typical Data Layout of a Protein Substance

Figure 5: Typical Data Layout of a Protein Substance

This image displays a typical data layout of the terminology elements for a protein substance. In this instance, the NHPID name of the protein substance identified is alpha-Amylase. The data layout terminology elements are: NHPID Name, Proper Name(s), Common Name(s), Category, Schedule 1, CAS Registry Number, Source Material, and Reference.  A medicinal role with a rationale is indicated at the bottom.


Select hyperlinked texts to retrieve detailed information associated with the text.

5.3 Organism

A typical data layout of the naming terminology elements for an organism is shown below in Figure 6: Typical Data Layout of an Organism with the following information:

  1. Taxonomical synonym details;
  2. Common name details;
  3. Reference details; and
  4. Detailed information of source material constituents (see Section 5.6 -Sub-ingredients.)


Figure 6: Typical Data Layout of an Organism

Figure 6: Typical Data Layout of an Organism

This image displays a typical data layout of the terminology elements for an organism. The data layout terminology elements are: Family, Genus, Species, Organism, Type, Taxa, Common Name(s), Reference, and Source Material Constituent(s).

Select hyperlinked texts to retrieve detailed information associated with the text.

5.4 Organism Substance

A typical data layout of the naming terminology elements for an organism substance is shown below in Figure 7: Typical Data Layout of an Organism Substance with the following information:

  1. Proper name and common name details;
  2. Monograph links;
  3. Definition of Schedule 1 term;
  4. Parent organism or organism group link (see Section 5.3 - Organism);
  5. Source material details (organism parts);
  6. Organism substance preparations details;
  7. Reference details; and
  8. Route of administration details and other details related to the ingredient roles.


Figure 7: Typical Data Layout of an Organism Substance

Figure 7: Typical Data Layout of an Organism Substance

This image displays a typical data layout of the terminology elements for an organism substance. In this instance, the NHPID name of the defined organism substance is Fish Oil. The data layout terminology elements are: NHPID Name, Proper Name(s), Common Name(s), Category, Monograph(s), Schedule 1, Organism Group, Parts, Preparations, and Reference. The bottom of the image displays the "Roles" category including the following medicinal and general data layout terminology elements: Rational, Restrictions, Route of Administration, and Reference.

Select hyperlinked texts to retrieve detailed information associated with the text.

5.5 Herbal Component

A typical data layout of the naming terminology elements for a chemical is shown below in Figure 8: Typical Data Layout of an Herbal Component with the following information:

  1. Proper name and common name details;
  2. Chemical class details;
  3. Chemical subclass details;
  4. CAS registry number details and other registry number details;
  5. Source material details; and
  6. Reference details.


Figure 8: Typical Data Layout of an Herbal Component

Figure 8: Typical Data Layout of an Herbal Component

This image displays a typical data layout of the terminology elements for an herbal component. In this instance, the NHPID name of the herbal component identified is Arbutin. The data layout of the terminology elements are: NHPID Name, Proper Name(s), Common Name(s), Category, Single or Group, Chemical Class, Chemical Subclass, CAS Registry Number, Source Material, and Reference.  The bottom of the image also displays the Component role.

Select hyperlinked texts to retrieve detailed information associated with the text.

5.6 Sub-ingredients

An ingredient is sometimes equivalent to certain amounts of other ingredients or made up of certain components which are known as sub-ingredients in the database. For more information on sub-ingredients, please see the Natural Health Products Online System Standard Terminology Guide. Sections in the document illustrating sub-ingredients provide detailed information on constituents from an organism part. A typical data layout for sub-ingredients is shown in Figure 9: Typical Data Layout of Sub-ingredients of an Organism with the following information:

  1. Parent organism link (see Section 5.3 - Organism); and
  2. Ingredients links. A sub-ingredient can be either a chemical (Section 5.1 - Chemical) or an herbal component (Section 5.5 - Herbal Component.)


Figure 9: Typical Data Layout of Sub-ingredients of an Organism

Figure 9: Typical Data Layout of Sub-ingredients of an Organism

This image displays a typical data layout of the terminology elements for sub-ingredients of an organism. In this instance, under the section “Source Material”, the organism name displayed is Allium sativum. The data layout terminology elements for this organism are: Organism, Part, and Synonym(s). Under the section “Sub-ingredient(s)”, two sub-ingredients are displayed: beta-Carotene and Iron. The data layout terminology elements for both sub-ingredients are: Sub-ingredient, Lower Yield, Upper Yield, Units, Routes of Administration, and References.

Select hyperlinked texts to retrieve detailed information associated with the text.

5.7 Homeopathic Substance

A typical data layout of the naming terminology elements for a homeopathic substance is shown below in Figure 10: Typical Data Layout of a Homeopathic Substance with the following information:

  1. Proper name and common name details;
  2. Reference details;
  3. Source materials;
  4. Methods of preparation;
  5. Synthetic and ATF details.

Figure 10: Typical Data Layout of a Homeopathic Substance

Figure 10: Typical Data Layout of a Homeopathic Substance

This image displays a typical data layout of the terminology elements for homeopathic ingredients.  In this instance, the NHPID name of the homeopathic ingredient is EHP_Allium cepa.  In the "Homeopathic Substance" section, the data layout terminology elements are:  NHPID Name, Category, Proper Name(s), Common Name(s), and Reference.  In a "Roles" section below, which indicates a Homeopathic role, the data layout terminology elements are:  Source Material(s), Method of Preparation(s), Generally known as synthetic, ATF Required, and ATF Required in processing of MI.

Select hyperlinked texts to retrieve detailed information associated with the text.

6 Viewing Monographs and Abbreviated Labelling Standards

In addition to providing a means to search for, and view, ingredient information and controlled vocabularies, the NHPID Web application also provides information on NHPD monographs and Abbreviated Labelling Standards associated with selected ingredients. These monographs and labeling standards can be accessed via hyperlinks provided in the ingredient information (for example, Figure 7: Typical Data Layout of an Organism Substance in Section 5.4 - Organism Substance for Fish Oil.) See Figure 11: Typical Layout of a Natural Health Products Ingredient Database-Generated Monograph.

A monograph link may lead either to a single-ingredient monograph or to a product monograph for an NHP. Currently, all Abbreviated Labelling Standards are for single ingredients.

Almost all of the single ingredient monographs are dynamically published by the database through the Web application, while currently all of the product monographs are still in a static Web page format. It is the intention of the NHPD that all monographs be eventually stored in the database. All of the Abbreviated Labelling Standards are currently dynamically published by the database.

Storing monographs and labeling standards in the database has many advantages. When monographs or labeling standards are revised by the NHPD, the latest version is available to the public almost immediately through the Web application. Monographs and labeling standards stored in the database are also used by the Electronic Product Licence application (e-PLA) forms to validate compendial and abbreviated labellling standards applications (see Natural Health Products Online System Guide.) The e-PLA forms make preparing and validating applications much easier and faster.


Figure 11: Typical Layout of a Natural Health Products Ingredient Database-Generated Monograph

Figure 11: Typical Layout of a Natural Health Products Ingredient Database-Generated Monograph

This image displays a typical layout of a Natural Health Products Ingredient Database-Generated Monograph. In this instance, the ingredient identified is Alfalfa. The information categories displayed are: NHPID Name, Proper Name(s), Common Name(s), Source Material, Route of Administration, Dosage Forms, and Use(s) or Purpose(s).

The full list of monographs and abbreviated labeling standards is available from the Natural Health Products Ingredient Database.

Those monograph names in the list which are marked with an asterisk (*) link to monographs generated by the Web application itself, using the NHP Ingredients Database, while names without an asterisk link to monographs in a static web page format because they are not generated.

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