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Gingko Biloba tree  Ginkgo biloba. Photo©2010 ABC

A new year and decade have begun, and ABC resolves to reinforce its educational mission and commitment to members throughout 2010. Already, ABC has been active in addressing various herbal issues within the media.

ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal was interviewed by NutraIngredients in December regarding challenges facing the dietary supplement industry. ABC also distributed a press release in late December, noting limitations of a ginkgo paper recently published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Blumenthal was further interviewed regarding the ginkgo paper for an article in Natural Foods Merchandiser and on Dr. Ronald Hoffman’s radio program Health Talk. He has also sent a letter to NBC Nightly News regarding anchor Brian Williams' broadcast, in which Williams erroneously stated that ginkgo "flat out does not work."

Viewers across the United States should have the opportunity to watch Blumenthal providing brief “herbal insights” for the show Healing Quest, co-hosted by Olivia Newton-John and broadcast on PBS television stations. These episodes are scheduled to run through April; a detailed schedule for the episodes is available here.

This issue of HerbalEGram reports on a new guidance from the US Food and Drug Administration that could affect the marketing of energy drinks. It also contains an article on the recently created Supplement Safety Now initiative and responses from industry trade associations. Additionally, as a potential new feature of HerbalEGram (depending on reader response), we are offering a link to additional news articles at the bottom of this issue’s Media Watch section.


The Staff of the American Botanical Council


HerbalGram 84 features a review of traditional medicinal practices and currentHG84 herbal research in Malaysia. Napo Pharmaceuticals’ sustainable harvesting of “Blood of the Dragon”—the medicinal sap of the Croton lechleri tree—with the assistance of local Peruvians is also profiled in this issue. Another feature article examines the importance of investigating traditional herbal remedies for malaria, rather than single-chemical drugs. Also in this issue, the impact of current Good Manufacturing Practices on small dietary supplement companies is investigated.

Featured Book

PGL Cover


January's selected book excerpt comes from A Practical Guide to Licensing Herbal Medicinal Products, written by Thomas Brendler, L Denzil Phillips, and Stefan Spiess, and published in 2009. This excerpt contains the book's cover page, table of contents, introduction, and Chapter 1, "Classification of Herbal (Medicinal) Products." All are available here.


©2010 Pharmaceutical Press.

Media Watch

We have tested the links of the following articles prior to publication; however, some news organizations remove stories and disable links at various times.

Kew Discovers New Plant Species in Own GlasshouseThe Guardian. 12-22-09. An African botany expert at the UK’s Royal Botanic Gardens recently found a new plant species during a lunchtime stroll around the garden, while other Kew botanists discover new plant species around the world.

University of Kansas Plant Project Wins FundingThe Topeka-Capital Journal. 12-18-09. The University of Kansas has received $5 million for a project that will assess the medicinal and cosmetic potential of native plants from Kansas and the surrounding region.

China Develops Herbal Medication for H1N1. Xinhua. 12-17-09. After 7 months of animal and human clinical studies, Chinese medical specialists have announced that an herbal medicine based on Traditional Chinese Medicine is effective at treating H1N1 flu.

Milk Thistle Cuts Liver Toxicity from Chemotherapy. MedPage Today. 12-14-09. Research has shown that an extract of the medicinal herb milk thistle significantly reduced some signs of liver inflammation in children undergoing chemotherapy for a type of leukemia.

Ancient Medicine Scripts Help Preserve HistoryViet Nam News. 12-13-09. To prevent their village from losing its herbal medicine traditions, a group of elders have opened a school to teach locals how to read and study the region’s ancient herbal medicine scripts.

Brahmi Herb Studied for Alzheimer'sThe Times of India. 12-7-09. Two trials studying the Ayurvedic herb brahmi have shown improvements in subjects’ working memory and especially their spatial memory accuracy. 

A Broader Definition of Healthcare. Los Angeles Times. 12-6-09. Health legislation recently passed by the US Senate includes stipulations for more alternative medicine coverage and for alternative health providers to be incorporated into some treatment plans. 

Chinese Herbal Cigarettes As Unhealthy as Regular Ones. Thaindian News. 12-4-09. A US study has shown that smoking Chinese cigarettes containing a mix of tobacco and medicinal herbs results in similar nicotine intake and carcinogen levels as do regular cigarettes.  

Additional Media Watch articles are available here.


January 21-24, 2010: 7th Annual Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine’s Natural Supplements: An Evidence-Based Update. San Diego, CA.

February 11-12, 2010: UNPA GMP Seminar. Salt Lake City, UT.  

February 25-27, 2010: Integrative Healthcare Symposium. New York, NY. ABC members can enter 100131 when registering for 15% off.

Recent News

FDA Issues Draft Guidance on Liquid Dietary Supplements: Conventional Beverage or Dietary Supplement? The FDA is currently accepting public comments on its proposed new guidance, which has been labeled by one expert as “potentially devastating to the liquid energy supplement/energy drink market.”

Industry Response to Initiative for Increased Dietary Supplement Regulation. The Supplement Safety Now campaign is calling for the US Congress to strenghten and increase supplement regulation, and dietary supplement industry groups have issued their response to this initiative.

Adaptogen Conference in Stockholm Highlights Recent Research.
Presenters at a recent conference in Sweden discussed the emerging science on adaptogens, particularly phytomedicines of the Swedish Herbal Institute.

Energy drinks and shots

Various energy drinks and shots. Photo©2010 Monica McCubbin.