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 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: Contact: Public Relations.


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Steven Foster

Describing her first visit with Steven Foster in 1977, Harvard University botanist, Dr. Shiu Ying Hu (1908-2012), wrote, “Our conversation reminded me of something that Confucius said two thousand years ago. ‘In any company of three persons, there must be one who can be my teacher’. . . I found in Steven Foster a teacher who could share a profound knowledge of economic botany, particularly in the cultivation and uses of herbs.” In 1974, at age 17, Steven Foster, began his career at the Sabbathday Lake, Maine, Shaker Community Herb Department —America's oldest herb business, dating to 1799. There he established three acres of production gardens and managed 1700 acres for the commercial harvest of botanicals. For forty-six years, Steven has photographed and researched herbs from the Amazon rainforest to the highlands of Vietnam. Foster has over 900 photo-illustrated articles published in a wide range of media. Steven also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Botanical Council, and a Contributing Editor to the organization's journal, HerbalGram. Steven is the author, co-author and photographer of eighteen books, including the NEW 2014 Third Edition of A Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants: Eastern and Central North America (with James A. Duke), along with National Geographic’s Complete Guide to Medicinal Herbs (2010), and A Desk Reference to Nature’s Medicine (2006, with Rebecca Johnson), awarded a 2007 New York Public Library “Best of Reference.” He is senior author of three other Peterson Field Guides, including A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs (with Dr. James A. Duke), 1st & 2nd editions, 1990, 2000; A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs with Dr. Christopher Hobbs, (2002); and A Field Guide to Venomous Animals and Poisonous Plants of North America (with Roger Caras, 1995). Other titles include Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West (with Prof. Yue Chongxi, 1992); Herbal Renaissance (1994); among others. Foster makes his home in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.

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