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When scientists, academia, media, and laypersons seek information on medicinal herbs, the numerous plant names that exist for a much lesser number of actual species often causes confusion and omission. An article in this issue discusses The Plant List project by Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, and Missouri Botanical Garden, which seeks to create a comprehensive listing of most known plant species and their synonym names.

An additional article in this issue of HerbalEGram discusses a recent research project's finding that ancient herbal beverages from Egypt and China contained medicinal plants with cancer-fighting compounds. Another article outlines 9 herbs, including astragalus, that the US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) has designated as priority areas for a new grant project.  

During the busy holiday season and into the New Year, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal will be speaking at various events, including an online webinar on climate change and the herbal industry (November 11), the 4th World Ayurveda Conference (December 9-13 in Bengaluru, India), and the 8th Annual Scripps Natural Supplements Conference (January 13-16, 2011, in San Diego, CA).


The Staff of the American Botanical Council


HerbalGram 87 includes a review of the HG87 coverhistoric and current medicinal uses for hops, highlighting the plant’s value beyond beer production. The issue also features an excerpt from the 2009 book Plants of Semillas Sagradas: An Ethnomedicinal Garden in Costa Rica, as well as a detailed profile of aloe’s historic uses and modern research. Additionally, the issue contains reports of 2 recent conferences pertaining to medicinal plants, one of which examined conservation concerns while the other explored research into botanical psychedelics.

Featured Book

The Herbal Kitchen
November's selected book excerpt comes from The Herbal Kitchen, written by Kami McBride and published in 2010 by Conari Press. This excerpt contains the book's title page, table of contents, a foreword by renowned herbalist and author Rosemary Gladstar, introduction, and Chapter 1, "Kitchen Medicine and Culinary Culture." All are available here.

©2010 Conari 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.

Pumpkin Protein May Fend off Yeast Infections. WebMD Health News. 10-30-09. Researchers in South Korea have found that a protein extracted from the rind of pumpkins can inhibit the growth of certain fungi that cause yeast infections and diaper rash.

Vitamin Business Thrived Through the RecessionNewsweek. 10-30-09. Several dietary supplement businesses are expanding their operations and have seen increased sales, leading the author of this column to offer 3 potential explanations for this growth.

New Lemongrass Variety Brings Hope for Drought-hit Farmers. Sify News. 10-29-09. Recently given to farmers in areas of India, a new variety of lemongrass is said to be resistant to drought, grow faster, and produce a higher yield of oil than the regular variety.

Gates Foundation Supports Research on Chocolate for MalariaSan Francisco Chronicle. 10-20-09. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded grants to several unusual research projects, including a study into chocolate's ability to starve the malaria parasite.

African Herbal HIV Hope. The Science and Development Network. 9-29-09. Scientists in South Africa have found that one plant in a concoction used by a traditional healer to treat AIDS patients appears to have anti-retroviral properties.


November 22-26: TropHort 2010. Kingston, Jamaica.

 December 3-4: 7th International Conference "Functional Foods in the Prevention and Management of Metabolic Syndrome." Dallas, TX.

March 4-6, 2011: Integrative Healthcare Symposium. New York, NY.

More event listings are available here.

Recent News

Discussing shard sample

Examining ancient sherd containing potentially medicinal compounds. Photo©2010 Abramson Cancer Center

The Plant List: The First Comprehensive Inventory of Most Known Plant Species. With this project, Kew and Missouri Botanical Garden are seeking to eliminate the common problems that arise from many plant species having more than one name.

NCCAM Prioritizes Several Herbs for Mechanistic Research Grant. NCCAM has identified 9 herbs as areas receiving priority for funding from a recent $8.1 million grant project.

Archaeological Oncology Project Uncovers Cancer-Fighting Compounds in Ancient Herbal Beverages. Researchers have found that compounds residing in ancient Egyptian and Chinese jars containing remnants of herbal alcoholic beverages are effective against colon and other types of cancer.