Cycles of Nature

The cycles of nature dictate everything is in a constant state of change. I write from  Austin, Texas, where the cycle of change means that for the third time on record, not one drop of rain fell to the earth in the month of November. If you look at the vegetation around here, it’s quite clear that this place is not far from being a desert.

Hundreds of miles south of Eureka Springs, rumors reach me that the Great Passion Play has its gates shuttered and chained, a victim of change or more likely, the inability to change. Nature adapts. From my home on Spring Street, with a view toward the eastern horizon, every sunrise and every moonrise is shadowed by the Christ of the Ozarks. The sun, the moon, sunny days, rainy days, rainbows, bolts of lightening and dark days are all wrapped-up in the outstretched arms of a manmade object that stands oblivious to changing nature.

In my late teens I recall searching for rare orchids with a friend in northern Maine in a remote area not far from the Canadian border. We walked along a railroad bed that had been abandoned five years earlier. I was struck by how in just five years that thoroughfare once kept clear of vegetation by racing tons of iron had been completely swallowed-up by lowly vegetation. One could not imagine that trains roamed the same trail just a few years earlier.

As I flew into Austin, knowing that the city’s commercial airport had in recent memory been an Air Force base, again I was struck by how the runway remnants no longer in use, once under the mighty whirling wheels of military jets, are now crags of black cracked asphalt hidden beneath waves of grass, weeds, and wildflowers, enveloping and overtaking the once invisible asphalt.

If the rumors are true, may I soon be staring toward the east and watching the sun and moon rise over a silhouette of vegetation once known as the Christ of the Ozarks? If that’s the case, I will smile and say, that’s the work of God.

©2012 Steven Foster

I’m Dreaming of a Bright Christmas

Carroll County Arkansas in the year 2077.

I’m dreaming of a bright Christmas—sunny with temperatures in the low 70s. The iconic “White Christmas” is so 1940s, forget the fact that Bing Crosby’s version of Irving Berlin’s song is the best-selling single of all time. We must look on the bright side of global warming or the more politically correct “climate change.” We just need to change our perspective.

Speaking with my 83-yr old dad in Maine over Thanksgiving, he remarked that as a kid, he and his friends were always skating by Thanksgiving. I reminded him, that we—his kids—were also skating by Thanksgiving! During my Maine childhood a white Christmas was a given. Now, ponds and lakes barely hold ice in a Maine winter. A white Christmas is merely a historical song from 1941.

It is true that all scientists actively involved in climate change research do not agree that the rise of global temperatures is the result of human activity. No, of 1,372 climate change scientists surveyed in 2010, only between 97–98 percent of scientists believed that global warming was caused by human activity. That leaves between 27-41 non-believer scientists (the 2-3%) that conservative “I told you so” faux journalists and faux policy makers can parade in front of cameras and hearings to dispute the reading on your thermometer. Why act when instead you can make jokes about Al Gore inventing the internet?

This week 17,000 attendees are debating data and policy at the 18th United Nations Conferences of the Parties on Climate Change in Doha, Qatar. It’s the perfect venue since Doha is a man-made desert oasis in a tiny country with the highest per-capita carbon emissions in the world.  Not to worry. The conferees won’t do anything but talk. On November 27th, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in their fourth assessment report, said whoops, we were wrong. Sea levels are rising 60 percent faster than our previous projections. Bye-bye Manhattan. Get to New Orleans while it’s still there.  Look on the bright side, who doesn’t want to turn down the heat and throw open the windows this winter? I’m dreaming of a bright Christmas!

Ice Ribbons and Frost Flowers

 

By Steven Foster |

What are those ribbons of ice traveling up the stem of roadside plants that you may have noticed on a recent early morning?  They are “frost flowers”, “ice flowers”,  or “ice ribbons” and are found on two plant species at this time of year native to the Ozarks. Those seen on plants in ditches or at the edge of a road are probably from White Crownbeard, Frostweed or Tickweed (Verbesina virginica). A late blooming member of the aster family, it sports ragged white flowers in flat-topped clusters. It’s a plant you probably won’t notice until now—the moment of the first few hard freezes of autumn. The frost flowers form during the first few hard frosts as capillary action draws moisture up the vascular bundle of moist living tissue fed from the roots, then the watery sap freezes, expands at right angles and transforms along the stem into extruded crystals ribbons of beautiful, layered, ice formations.

Another plant found in woodlands, American Ditty (Cunila origanoides), which grows in dry, wooded habitats mostly on west or south-facing slopes, also produces frost flowers. You probably have to go a little out of your way to see them, unless you drive along a forested dirt road early in the morning. This little oregano-scented mint family member is common in our woods. On the first frosty morning of autumn, the still active roots send cell sap toward the stems, now cracked and beginning to die back to the ground. As the sap from the root tries to make its way up the cracked stems, the freezing air turns the moisture-laden sap at the base of the stems into fluted, twisted, layered ribbons of ice that look like Christmas ribbon candy. This phenomena usually occurs only during the first few frosts of the year, though American Dittany can produce frost flowers for several weeks, depending upon soil moisture and weather conditions. Of course, another plant that is a definitive barometer of the season’s first hard freeze is the tomato. If one morning your tomato plants suddenly turn black then likely we’ve just had our first frost.

 

Dr. Shiu Ying Hu

Shiu-ying Hu, PhD: 1910–2012 

by Steven Foster

Published by the American Botanical Council in HerbalGram 95:74-76

On May 31st, 2012, the Chinese University of Hong Kong posted an obituary of Prof. Hu Shiu-ying, PhD (Shiu-ying Hu), announcing the passing of the eminent economic botanist and taxonomist. She died at the age of 102 on May 22, 2012, at the Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong. Her obituary appears on a website dedicated to the memory of her remarkable life and work.1

Dr. Hu, Emeritus Senior Research Fellow of the Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University, spent most of the last 20 years in Hong Kong, where she served as Honorary Professor of Chinese Medicine, Honorary Senior Research Fellow of the School of Life Sciences, and Senior College Tutor of Chung Chi College at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. In a career stretching nearly 8 decades, Dr. Hu was active past her 100th year. Dr. Hu became the leading expert and monographer of the genera Philadelphus or mock orange (Hydrangeaceae), Hemerocallis or daylily (Liliaceae), Paulownia or princess-tree (Paulowniaceae), the mallow family (Malvaceae), and Ilex or hollies (Aquifoliaceae). Considered a leading world expert on hollies (Aquifoliaceae), the American Holly Society created an award in her name in 1992, for which Dr. Hu was the first recipient. She was affectionately nicknamed “Holly Hu.” In addition, Dr. Hu made significant contributions to the taxonomy of major plant families including the orchid family (Orchidaceae), mallow family (Malvaceae) and aster family (Asteraceae), among others. It is rare to read a paper on Ephedra (Ephedraceae), Eucommia (Eucommiaceae), Leonurus (motherwort, Lamiaceae), Panax (ginseng, Araliaceae), and other medicinal plant groups that does not contain citation to Dr. Hu’s various papers on those plants. In 2008, Dr. Hu was also the first, and so far only, recipient of the American Botanical Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 2,3

Dr. Hu was born in February 1910, during the Qing Dynasty in a small village on the southern bank of the ancient course of the Yellow River. In her magnum opus, Food Plants of China, she describes the farmland as poor in condition, reclaimed from a swamp. In summer months, floods and storms destroyed all crops and predictable famines ensued. In her youth, it was there that Dr. Hu gained firsthand knowledge of famine foods and medicinal plants.

She was raised in a communal homestead shared by descendants of her paternal grandparents. At times, the family survived by foraging for wild foods. Her mother gave birth to three daughters and two sons. Shiu-ying Hu and one brother were the only two who survived in a rural region of China with an infant mortality rate of 50%. Soon after her birth, Shiu Ying Hu fell ill, and her mother sent her father to a nearby village to obtain an herbal medicine to save the young girl’s life. Like most peasants in China, he had no shoes. He tied reeds to his feet to make the journey, and trudged through snow to get the herbal prescription that saved Dr. Hu’s life. When she began her botanical studies in the 1930s, Dr. Hu asked herself the question, “What is the herb that saved my life?” That question remained unanswered, but inspired Dr. Hu to apply herself to the study of plants to improve the well-being of rural people in China.

A stroke of good fortune provided a scholarship which allowed her to attend Mary Stevens Girl’s High School, a boarding school in Xuzhou run by Presbyterian missionaries. After graduation, she attended Ginling College, a small liberal arts and sciences college in Nanjing. There, for the first time in her life, she enjoyed a bowl of rice. Although interested in agriculture courses, which were not offered, she studied biology and sociology in hopes that it would offer her the opportunity to pursue her cardinal interest — helping to serve the people in rural China.

After finishing her undergraduate degree at Ginling College in 1933, she began work toward a Master’s degree in botany at Lingnan University in Guangzhou. Among her teachers was Prof. F. A. McClure, a leading 20th-century botanical expert on bamboos. In pursuit of food and medicinal plants of rural peoples, she prepared her thesis, “The Chinese Esculent Plants Used for the Conservation of Health.” She gathered data from herb collectors, shopkeepers, Guangzhou homemakers, Taoist monks and nuns residing in Luofu Shan, as well as drawing on her own personal experience.

Soon after finishing her Master’s degree in June 1937, the Sino-Japanese War broke out and Dr. Hu became a refugee.  In January of 1938 she arrived in Chengdu, Sichuan, having accepted a teaching position at West China Union University, where she remained for eight years. Her monthly salary was three bushels of rice. During this period she collected plants in the Emei Mountains (Mt. Omei) famous for medicinal plants, and lived two summers with Sino-Tibetan ethnic groups including the Qiang and Jiarong. The Jiarong live in the territory of the giant panda.4 Today colleagues find it remarkable that she collected plants in this remote and rugged region of China, which even now can be reached only by off-road vehicles or on horseback. She traveled on foot, sometimes alone in the wilderness for months at a time. During her long life, she collected over 180,000 herbarium specimens.5

In March 1946, Dr. Hu received a telegram from Radcliffe College inviting her to apply for a graduate fellowship for a doctoral program at Harvard University under Professor Elmer D. Merrill, a leading American expert on Eastern Asiatic botany who in the early 1940s had returned to the United States from the Philippines following the Japanese invasion. She received the fellowship, despite being told that Harvard “didn’t take girls.” Two American friends helped provide money for her travel to Boston. Dr. Hu arrived in the United States on August 2, 1946, with a small suitcase of clothes and two large suitcases of plant specimens. In Food Plants of China (2005), she wrote, “The change of lifestyles from China to America was to me like a complete metamorphosis is to insects. Everything was new.”

Dr. Hu was the last student of Professor Merrill, and was a student in the final class of Harvard University’s Gray Herbarium Director, Merritt Lyndon Fernald. In 1949, Dr. Hu received her doctorate, becoming the first Chinese-born woman to receive a PhD in botany from Harvard University. That was also the year that Mao Zedong’s victory over the Kuomintang in China’s Civil War resulted in the creation of the People’s Republic of China. Subsequently, China became closed to the West.

Upon graduation, Dr. Hu dreamed of working for the United States Department of Agriculture. However, she could not obtain a job there. Only Harvard University offered her a position. Later, she was to discover that the Harvard position was actually more prestigious. For the next 3 decades, Dr. Hu worked tirelessly on the taxonomy, phytogeography, and economic plants of China based on collections at the Arnold Arboretum, the Harvard University Herbaria, the New York Botanical Garden, and the US National Herbarium, among other collections. One result of the work is the Hu Card Index, a compilation of 158,844 index cards for Chinese plant names produced by Dr. Hu and her staff, representing the botanical literature on Chinese plants from 1753-1955.6

Five-time Academy Award winner, composer, conductor, and pianist John Williams has been accused of being a tree hugger. Best known for his movie scores, his foray into serious classical composition includes his three “tree songs,” one inspired by a magnificent specimen of Metasequoia or dawn redwood (Taxodiaceae) at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum to which Dr. Hu provided William’s a personal introduction. A redwood-relative known only from the fossil record until the 1940s, Williams’ treesong, “Dr. Hu and the Metasequoia,” honors the tree and the Chinese graduate student who planted it in 1949 — Dr. Shiu Ying Hu. Dr. Hu’s service to others and heart-felt enthusiasm inspires.

Explaining his inspiration in an interview with RTHK TV’s “Success Stories,” biographical documentary on Dr. Hu, Williams said, “The tree seems to be almost intelligent…If you look at it long enough it seems to be speaking to you with the wisdom of age and great intelligence…I just love this tree and I love this woman and I thought it might be a nice idea for a musical piece. Dr. Hu is a brilliant scientist, a very attractive woman with a sort of spiritual connection with plants…She knows the plants and they are like children to her. This woman has a spiritual aura about her which is very still and penetrates very deep into her subject almost like a religious person for me.”7

Although working in the pinnacle of botanical academia, Dr. Hu never forgot her Chinese peasant roots. She served as a liaison between the Western world and China during the first two decades of Communist China’s closure to the West. At her own expense, she provided botanical literature and paid membership fees to international scientific societies for Chinese colleagues and students. Through the years, her frugal lifestyle enabled her to provide scholarships, living quarters, and money for dozens of Chinese students to study in America and elsewhere. Her home was Brookline, Massachusetts, but as she was fond of reminding colleagues, her heart always belonged to China.

From September 1968 to June 1969, she served as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Biology at Chung Chi College, Chinese University of Hong Kong, while continuing her work on the flora of Hong Kong. Once China opened up to the West in the mid-1970s, Dr. Hu made numerous return trips to China, greeted with the deepest respect from China’s scientific community, like a revered sage.

Dr. Hu dedicated her life to improving the life of the Chinese people through her love of plants. China, in turn, honored Dr. Hu’s service. Dr. Hu was appointed Advisor to the Sun Yat-sen Botanical Garden in Nanjing, Honorary Professor of South China Agriculture University in Guangzhou, and Advisor to the Fairy Lake Botanical Garden in Shenzhen. She was instrumental in the establishment of the School of Chinese Medicine at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. She also created a new environmental awareness in Hong Kong by insisting that large trees be incorporated into the campus design, rather than cut down. In 2001, she was awarded the Bronze Bauhinia Star by the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

Her many decades of tireless dedication produced fruits mirroring the towering heights of the Metasequoia tree. Dr. Hu authored more than 160 scientific papers.  She is the author of numerous books, notably her magnum opus, Food Plants of China (The Chinese University Press, 2005), as well as An Enumeration of Chinese Materia Medica (The Chinese University Press, 1980; 2nd ed. 1999) and The Genera of Orchidaceae in Hong Kong (The Chinese University Press, 1977), among others.

In recognition of Professor Hu’s international contribution to botanical science, the School of Life Sciences of The Chinese University of Hong Kong has established an endowment to expand and relocate the University’s Herbarium in the School of Life Sciences, now renamed the Shiu-Ying Hu Herbarium. Information is available at the Shiu-Ying Hu website, set up to honor her memory and accomplishments and includes her obituary, biography, tributes, photos, and many external links.1

Dr. Shiu-ying Hu’s remarkable academic eminence was borne of her consistent, unassuming humility and impressive dedication to work. She studied with some of the most noted botanists of the 20th century, yet her affable personality and simple demeanor erased awareness of all lines of social class structure. Although she counted heads of government and famous composers among those who sought her acquaintance, her ability to listen to anyone earned her friends in teachers and in students — and lifelong friends among all people, from ethnic minorities of Sichuan and Tibet to the herdsmen of Inner Mongolia, the herb collectors of Yunnan, monks and nuns of famous Taoist and Buddhist temples, shopkeepers of Guangzhou, and three generations of botanists from around the world.  In China she was known as “Grandmother Plants.” —Steven Foster

References      

1. The Chinese University of Hong Kong website. Obituary. In Memory of Professor Shiu Ying Hu. May 31, 2012. Available at:www.cuhk.edu.hk/cpr/hushiuying/obituary.htm. Accessed July 17, 2012.

2. Anon. Remembering Professor Shiu-Ying Hu. Harvard Gazette. May 31, 2012. Available at:http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/newsplus/remembering-professor-shiu-ying-hu/. Accessed July 17, 2012.

3. Anon. Remembering Professor Shiu-Ying Hu. The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University website. May 30, 2012. Available at:http://arboretum.harvard.edu/professor-hu/. Accessed July 17, 2012.

4. Hu SY. Food plants of China. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press; 2005., p.14-18.

5. Cheung S., Executive Producer. Success Stories: Dr. Hu Shiu-Ying [DVD Video]. Honk Kong: RTHK TV Programme Series. Intercontinental Video Limited. 2005, 46 min.

6. The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University. Flora of China Project records, 1953-1977: Guide. Archives II G-1. Available at:http://arboretum.harvard.edu/wp-content/uploads/II_G-1_FOC_2012.pdf. Accessed July 17, 2012.

7. Williams, J. Interview in: Cheung S., Executive Producer. Success Stories: Dr. Hu Shiu-Ying [DVD Video]. Honk Kong: RTHK TV Programme Series. Intercontinental Video Limited. 2005, 46 min.

 

The Mysteries of Autumn Color

Autumn foliage at Sweet Spring

© Steven Foster

This year fall colors came in waves. First a wave of glorious yellows and reds from Sugar Maples (Acer saccharum) planted around Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I couldn’t help but notice that the Sugar Maples planted along the sidewalk in front of the Best Western Eureka Inn at the top of Planer Hill showed their colors and dropped their leaves before the wild Sugar Maples in the forest directly across the street even began to turn color. Same for the Sugar Maples along Spring Street. Those planted along the street have dropped their yellow-orange leaves, while those in the adjacent woods have a glorious color display of orange to burgundy leaves, dominating the current color trend. So what is the difference between the colors and timing of the planted Sugar Maples and wild Sugar Maples? I suspect it is some type of genetic clock trigger. Which begs the question, how are autumn tree colors formed?

There is no single, definitive answer to the question of why trees turn color. Much of our understanding is physiological. The major factor among a myriad of variables is the diminishing length of the autumn day, hence the amount of daylight. Production of chlorophyll ceases, and as the green chlorophyll degrades, sugars and anthocyanadins (the vast group of compounds responsible for color combinations of fruits, leaves and flowers) begin to dominate the leaves, aided by the variables of moisture and temperature changes. The recipe changes from year to year and species to species. This is convention wisdom.

In the last 20 years an entirely new field of study—plant-animal interactions— hints of broader mechanisms, beyond mere physiological changes in the leaves. Fall colors are integrated in nature, signaling to fruit-loving animals and insects that fruits are ready for harvest, thus aid in seed dispersal. In some trees, the colors may send a signal to insect herbivores that feeding is over. The new science of autumn tree color suggests the process is a mix of defensive, seed-dispersing, signaling, and physiological functions all working in a symphonic display of intricate beauty. Our role in the process is simply to enjoy it.

Adulteration of Commercial Bilberry Extracts

Bilberry © 2012 Steven Foster

Some Bilberry Fruit Extracts Adulterated, says Nonprofit Research Consortium

(AUSTIN, Texas, November 1, 2012) Some dietary supplements labeled as containing “Bilberry Extract” are adulterated with lower-cost, non-bilberry ingredients that are not stated on the products’ labels, says a new report in the nonprofit American Botanical Council’s fall 2012 issue of its peer-reviewed journal, HerbalGram.1

Bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) fruit and its products can be found in health products, foods, and cosmetics, and are marketed as dietary supplements in the United States and as phytomedicines in the European Union. In 2011, bilberry dietary supplements were the 15th best selling single-herb supplement in the mainstream market in the United States, which includes grocery stores, drug stores, and mass-market retail stores. Reported health benefits of bilberry are primarily in the vascular domain and include treatment of vascular insufficiency, capillary fragility, and retinopathy.

“Given global demand for this relatively high-cost, wild-harvested berry, bilberry supplies are reportedly rife with economic adulteration,” wrote HerbalGram article co-authors Steven Foster, an author and widely published botanical photographer, and Mark Blumenthal, ABC’s founder and executive director, and editor of HerbalGram.

According to the article, the world’s entire supply of commercial bilberry is wild-harvested, primarily in Scandinavian countries and in Eastern Europe. “[T]he relatively small region of growth for bilberries suggests that there is not much elasticity in the price of raw material,” the authors wrote. One industry expert quoted in the article explains that it takes 100 kg of hand-picked bilberry fruit to make 1 kg of extract, which can cost anywhere from $325 to $600 for the bilberry raw material alone, depending on seasonal supply and other factors. Therefore, considering other costs (e.g., refrigerated storage and transportation, extraction, etc.) the economics strongly suggest that some of the lower-cost bilberry extracts currently available in the global supply market are adulterated with other, cheaper, ingredients.

Some of the known adulterants include amaranth dye (also known as azo dye or Red Dye No. 2). [The dye is used to “trick” certain types of analytical methods, and is not to be confused with the food called amaranth (Amaranthus spp.).] Additionally, third-party laboratories have reported adulteration of commercial bilberry samples with charcoal, black soybean (Glycine max) hull and black rice (Oryza sativa var. indica) hulls. Other items include other lower-cost fruits containing anthocyanin pigments, the primary active compounds found in bilberry. Further, language confusion is a potential basis of adulteration; translation errors, including mistaking “blueberry” for “bilberry” or other similarly named species of the botanical genus Vaccinium, can result in the use of improper material in some countries.

Industry awareness of bilberry adulteration has led to the development of advanced chemical analyses – including versions of high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and other appropriate analytical methods – that can determine the precise contents of bilberry products. The active ingredients responsible for many of bilberry’s beneficial properties are known as anthocyanosides (or anthocyanins). According to the authors, “the mixture … in bilberry produces a unique pattern set that distinguishes bilberry from all other anthocyanoside sources.”

The article is the fourth installment in the ongoing ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, a collaboration of the American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi. Previous articles produced by this program have detailed thehistory of adulteration of botanical ingredients (HerbalGram issue #92), the adulteration of skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) with germander (Teucrium canadense) (issue #93), and the adulteration of commercial “grapefruit seed extract” (supposedly derived from Citrus x paradisi) with synthetic industrial disinfectants (issue #94).

The bilberry article was peer-reviewed for accuracy by numerous experts, including analytical chemists from independent third-party analytical laboratories.

Reference

1. Foster S, Blumenthal M. The Adulteration of Commercial Bilberry Extracts. HerbalGram. 2012;(96):64-73.

About the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is a consortium of independent nonprofit organizations whose mission relates to education, scientific research, and quality of botanical dietary ingredients and related plant-derived materials. The consortium is endorsed and supported by over 85 natural product industry companies, independent analytical laboratories, law firms, trade associations, and accredited institutions of education in natural medicine, all of which are involved in the production, supply, manufacture, distribution, marketing, analysis, research, and/or education of herbal dietary ingredients and supplements.

Underwriters and Supporters of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program (as of November 1, 2012)* 

Financial Underwriters
AdvoCare International L.P.
Amen Clinics
Amway/Nutrilite Health Institute
Aveda Corporation
BI Nutraceuticals
Cepham, Inc.
Chemi Nutra
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps
Emerson Ecologics
Ethical Naturals, Inc.
Enzymatic Therapy, Inc.
EuroMed
EuroMedica
EuroPharma
Eu Yan Sang International
Flavex Naturextrakte GmbH
Gaia Herbs
Gencor Nutrients, Inc.
GNC, Inc.
Helios Corp.
Herbalife International, Inc.
Horphag Research
Indena USA, Inc.
Markan Global Enterprises, Inc.
Martin Bauer, Inc.
Metabolic Maintenance Products
Metagenics, Inc.
Natural Factors Nutritional Products, Inc.
/Bioclinic Naturals
Nature’s Sunshine Products
Nature’s Way
Naturex, Inc.
NBTY, Inc.
New Chapter, Inc.
The New Frontier Foundation Fund of the
Greater Cedar Rapids Community
Foundation
Ningbo Greenhealth Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.
Novel Ingredients
NOW Foods
Nu Skin Enterprises/Pharmanex
Nutraceutical Corp
Nutritional Laboratories International
Pacific Nutritional Inc.
Paragon Laboratories
Perrigo Company
Pharmavite, LLC
Pure Encapsulations
Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems
RFI Ingredients, LLC
Sabinsa Corporation
Schwabe North America
Standard Process, Inc.
Thorne Research, Inc.
Traditional Medicinals, Inc.
Triarco Industries, Inc.
Valensa International
V.D.F. FutureCeuticals
Verdure Sciences
Vitamin Shoppe
Weil Lifestyle, LLC
Whole Foods Market
ZMC-USA
Trade Associations
Consumer Healthcare Products Association
Council for Responsible Nutrition
Natural Products Association
United Natural Products AllianceEndorsements by Nonprofit/Professional Associations
American Association of Naturopathic Physicians
Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental MedicineColleges/Universities
Bastyr University
National College of Natural Medicine
Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine
University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic MedicineThird-Party Analytical Laboratories
Alkemists Laboratories
Bent Creek Institute
British Columbia Institute of Technology
ChromaDex
Covance Laboratories
Eurofins
Flora Research Labs
NSF International
Spectrix Labs
Tampa Bay AnalyticalMedia
Engredea
Natural Foods Merchandiser
Natural Products INSIDER
Nutritional Outlook
Nutrition Business Journal
Nutrition Industry Executive
Vitamin Retailer

Law Firms
Amin Talati, LLC
Greenberg Traurig, LLP (James Prochnow)
Law Office of Holly Bayne, P.C.

*By acknowledging the generous support of these companies and organizations, ABC, AHP, and NCNPR are not endorsing any ingredients or products that may be produced or marketed by them.

About the American Botanical Council

Founded in 1988, the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs, teas, medicinal plants, essential oils, and other beneficial plant-derived materials. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators; libraries; health professionals and medical institutions; government agencies; members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries; journalists; consumers; and others in over 81 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas, where it publishes the peer-reviewed quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, the weekly e-newsletter “Herbal News & Events,” HerbClips (summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 240 herbs. ABC also co-produces the “Herbal Insights” segment for Healing Quest, a television series on PBS.

ABC is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900. Website: www.herbalgram.org. Contact: Public Relations.

About the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP)

AHP is a 501(c)(3) California-based nonprofit research organization. AHP’s primary goal is to develop standards of identity, purity, quality, and testing for botanical ingredients and to provide industry with the resources needed to assure the authenticity and quality of botanical raw materials. Additionally, with most all monographs, AHP develops a Therapeutic Compendium that provides a critical review of the authoritative traditional and scientific data on herbal medicines to ensure a high level of accuracy, clinical applicability, and safety of herbal ingredients. AHP also provides industry with authenticated AHP-Verified Botanical Reference Materials for GMP compliance with identity requirements.

About the National Center for Natural Products Research

The National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) at the School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi, is a unique university-affiliated research center devoted to the study of natural products and the realization of their benefits in human health, agriculture, and other applications. The NCNPR is recognized as a Center of Excellence for botanical supplements by the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

American Botanical Council Enters 25th Year

(AUSTIN, Texas, October 31, 2012) On November 1, 2012, the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) enters its 25thyear of education and research on the science-based health benefits of herbs, medicinal plants, and other beneficial plant-based ingredients. The independent research and education organization was established in 1988 by Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal, along with noted ethnobotanist James A. Duke, PhD, and the renowned late pharmacognosist Professor Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD.

Remarking on the occasion, Dr. Duke said, “I am pleased and proud to see ABC approaching that monumental 25-year milestone. Nice work. It is so much bigger and better than I envisaged 24 years ago, thanks to Mark, of course, and the dedicated staff.”

Blumenthal and Drs. Duke and Farnsworth came together to form ABC as a means of supporting HerbalGram, the seminal publication for which the nonprofit is most well-known. Since those first years of ABC, HerbalGram has grown from a grassroots newsletter into a full-fledged, peer-reviewed, quarterly scientific journal. ABC’s 25th year will see HerbalGram celebrate 30 years of publication, with the 100th issue going to print in late 2013.

“ABC started as a means of supporting HerbalGram, which at that time was a newsletter for many people in the disparate herbal community,” said Blumenthal. “Now in our 25th year, HerbalGram has not only surpassed all expectations in terms of quality, relevancy, and impact on the herbal community internationally, but its success has allowed ABC to branch out and create many new means of fulfilling our unique educational mission.”

The number of ABC-produced publications continues to increase. One that also will celebrate a major milestone soon is HerbClip™, which turns 20 in 2013. For two decades, HerbClip has offered summaries and critical reviews of seminal articles covering medicinal plant-related clinical research, regulations, marketing information, and conservation and sustainability. HerbalEGram, the monthly e-newsletter for ABC members, will enter its tenth year in 2013, and with it will come a new design. ABC’s recently-introduced weekly e-newsletter, Herbal News & Events, will commence a second year of keeping ABC members and supporters up-to-date on events, conferences, and news stories that are relevant to the herbal community.

In addition to using the written word to educate the public on the responsible use of herbal and other plant-based ingredients, ABC helps steward the next generation by offering internships for pharmacy, dietetic, botany, horticulture, journalism, and marketing students at its Austin, Texas headquarters. 2013 will mark the 15th year that ABC has called the Case Mill Homestead “home.” The 2.5-acre complex boasts more than a dozen herbal theme gardens where medicinal plants are cultivated to help educate interns as well as the general public through tours and events like HerbDay. HerbDay is a coordinated series of independently produced public education events that celebrate the importance of herbs and herbalism. Each year, ABC opens its gardens for a full day of herb walks, lectures, children’s activities, and plant and book sales. The 8th annual HerbDay will be held on May 4, 2013.

An increasingly digital world also has led ABC to expand its education methods online. The information-rich websitewww.herbalgram.org is constantly growing with new articles and information. ABC recently added a new database to its online resources: The ABC Clinical Guide to HerbsABC’s highly-praised reference book, is now available through ABC’s website, allowing members to search through therapeutic monographs and clinical study details on 30 best-selling herbs. What barely could have been imagined when HerbalGram first began and ABC was founded is now a reality with the addition of a digital, flip-page version of the journal. The insightful articles and full-color photographs found in each physical edition of HerbalGram have been faithfully rendered online to create a seamless digital experience on a smartphone or tablet computer.

ABC’s 25th year will feature the continued growth of two major research projects. In 2011, ABC collaborated with the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP) and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) to address the accidental and intentional adulteration of botanical dietary ingredients. Dozens of underwriters and supporters have come together to sustain the program. To date, the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants program has published four articles on botanical adulteration, all of which appeared in HerbalGram and are available online. Four additional adulteration articles are slated for next year. In 2013, ABC also is planning to publish a book by Blumenthal and Jay Pierotti, PhD, on solvents used in the manufacture of botanical extracts, food flavors, and natural food ingredients.

Steven Foster, author, photographer, and Chairman of ABC’s Board of Trustees, said, “For nearly a quarter century, a time in which we’ve seen herbal product sales in the United States increase by an estimated ten-fold, and perhaps more scientific research on medicinal plants published than in the previous 200 years, the American Botanical Council (ABC) has been at the international forefront of serving as the primary vehicle for bringing truthful information on the benefits and risks of herbs to the research community, health professionals, industry, the media and consumers. Through its widely respected journal HerbalGram, HerbClip service, dozens of special publications, and media communiqués, ABC is the premier go-to source for cutting-edge knowledge in the modern herbal renaissance.”

“It would be easy to look back at all we’ve accomplished so far and think, ‘We’re already doing so much for the herbal community,’ and not push ourselves to do more,” said Blumenthal. “But the drive to do more than the status quo is integral to the spirit of ABC. I look forward to everything we will do in our 25th year and beyond for the next decades.”

About the American Botanical Council
Founded in 1988, the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs, teas, medicinal plants, essential oils, and other beneficial plant-derived materials. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators; libraries; health professionals and medical institutions; government agencies; members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries; journalists; consumers; and others in over 81 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas, where it publishes the peer-reviewed quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, the weekly e-newsletter “Herbal News & Events,” HerbClips (summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 240 herbs. ABC also co-produces the “Herbal Insights” segment for Healing Quest, a television series on PBS.

ABC is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900. Website: www.herbalgram.org. Contact: Public Relations.