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HerbalEGram
Dear Reader
  Wine grapes. ©2012 Fir0002/Flagstaffotos
under GNU Free Documentation License.

The American Botanical Council's 7th annual Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony, hosted last week at Natural Products Expo West, was a great time and huge success. With almost 300 people in attendance, ABC's Mark Blumenthal and other staff met numerous new faces and exchanged ideas with valued current members. Importantly, ABC had the opportunity to thank those in the herbal medicine community who help support its unique nonprofit educational mission through memberships and donations, and also enjoyed presenting 3 very talented and deserving individuals and 1 company with ABC's annual awards for excellence in research and botanical literature. Stories on each of our award winners can be found in the Recent News section below.

An additional article in this issue of HerbalEGram discusses the recent study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health who suggest they have determined how resveratrol, a component in grapes and red wine, works in the human body to achieve its health-related properties. This and more news are available below.

Cordially,

The American Botanical Council

HerbalGram



HerbalGram
 93, now available online, includes an expansive overview of the ways in which herbal supplements are regulated by US government agencies such as the FDA and FTC. The issue also features a history of the adulteration of skullcap with American germander. Additional articles include coverage of a recent St. John's wort-related controversy, as well as information on the importance of accurately identifying 2 similar-looking species of star anise.

Featured Book

March’s featured book excerpt comes from Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone. The excerpt provided for readers of HerbalEGram includes the book’s title page, table of contents, and a selection from Chapter 9, “Fungi That Make You Well and Fungi That Make You Sick.” Mycophilia’s 12 chapters cover many aspects of mushroom culture from conferences and collectors to psychedelic ‘shrooms and the use of mushrooms in biotechnology. Bone shatters the myth of mushrooms as a simple culinary ingredient and exposes the many uses of this versatile and poorly understood organism.

©2012 Rodale Books

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.

Medical Marijuana Without Memory Loss. Daily Mail. 3-2-12. French scientists recently found that the brain processes marijuana's medicinal effects and its memory reducing effects in different areas.

Australian Doctors, Scientists Wage War on Alternative Medicine. The Atlantic. 3-1-12. A group of physicians and researchers in Australia—where alternative medicine is widely used—is asking the federal government to ban university courses on select therapies with which they disagree.

Herb to be Alzheimer's Treatment? Xconomy. 2-18-12. A pharmaceutical company is spending millions to study black cohosh as a potential treatment for Alzheimer's Disease, an initiative based upon a Mayo Clinic discovery that the herb inhibits a toxic protein. 

Some Medicinal Plants may Decrease Efficacy of Antiretrovirals. The AIDS Beacon. 2-27-12. A Spanish study of 193 patients found that almost 50% of the medicinal herbs used by participants have known interactions with antiretroviral therapy.

Could Rosemary Boost Brain Performance? MedicalXPress.com. 2-24-12. According to a UK human study, subjects with higher blood levels of a major rosemary chemical exhibited improved cognitive performance.

Growing Aloe in all of its Glorious Colors. Los Angeles Times. 2-21-12. With hundreds of varieties of aloes, the plant's ornamental and medicinal uses are numerous.

Scientists Discover Secrets of 2,000-Year Old Chinese Herbal Remedy. PhysOrg. 2-12-12. A component in a Chinese hydrangea species acts against harmful immune cells while leaving the beneficial cells unaffected.

Kava Ban Lifted in Canberra. Radio Australia. 2-10-12. After days of deliberation, Australian officials granted participants of a multicultural festival the right to ingest kava beverages without risking jail time.

Events

April 16–19: 11th Annual Oxford International Conference on the Science of Botanicals. Oxford, MS.

May 5: HerbDay 2012. Various locations in the United States. 

May 15-18: 2012 International Research Congress for Integrative Medicine and Health. Portland, OR.

More event listings are available on ABC's website.

Recent News

NIH Researchers Determine Resveratrol's Probable Health-Promoting Mechanism. A recent study suggests that the compound from grapes works by inhibiting "enzymes that help regulate cell energy," which in turn activates the calorie-restricting protein sirtuin 1.

American Ginseng Monograph 
 Slippery Elm Monograph
AHP Monographs on American
ginseng root and slippery elm
inner bark. ©2012 AHP.

American Herbal Pharmacopoeia Releases New Monographs on American Ginseng Root and Slippery Elm Bark. These recent documents provide information essential for many in the medicinal plant community, including data on toxicology, medicinal uses, structure-function claims, dosages, interactions, and side effects.

Errata in HerbalGram Skullcap-Germander Adulteration Article. The American Botanical Council corrects 3 photo captions containing incorrect botanical names, which appeared in a feature article of the recent HerbalGram.

ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program Publishes Review of Skullcap Adulteration. The recent issue of HerbalGram features a detailed article on the history and modern occurrence of skullcap adulteration with potentially toxic germander.

ABC Gives its Annual James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Awards, Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award, and Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award.