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Titan arum  Titan arum ©2012 US Botanic Garden

As spring arrives in many areas of the world, we welcome the beautiful blooming of many roadside wildflowers and garden favorites. An article in this issue of HerbalEGram covers a particularly exciting and rare flower's bloom, that of Cornell University's titan arum, or corpse flower, which fills the air with the scent of rotting meat upon opening. This story and other original articles — including an updated report on the recent New Chapter purchase and a discussion on the cannabis analysis industry — are available in the Recent News section below.

In celebration of next month's nation-wide HerbDay, members of the local Central Texas community are invited to the American Botanical Council's headquarters in Austin, Texas, on May 5th, where they can participate in guided herb walks, herbal lectures, and children's activities. ABC's website provides more information on the event.


The American Botanical Council


HerbalGram 93, now available onlineHG93 Coverincludes 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

Nutritional Genomics

April’s featured book excerpt comes from Nutritional Genomics: The Impact of Dietary Regulation of Gene Function on Human Disease, edited by Wayne R. Bidlack and Raymond L. Rodriguez. The excerpt selected for readers of HerbalEGram includes the book’s title page, table of contents, preface, and Chapter 22, “Nutritional Genomics and the Future of Food Labeling in the United States.” Each of the book’s 22 chapters is written by an expert in the emerging field of nutritional genomics research. More of a science textbook than a popular consumer book, Nutritional Genomics contains detailed descriptions and complex ideas that are best understood by those familiar with genetics.

©2012 CRC 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.

'The Hansen Files': Supplements, Part 1. Dateline MSNBC. 3-18-12. Reporter Chris Hansen goes undercover to investigate labs testing dietary supplements, producing a report that has been criticized by several herbal and dietary supplement industry organizations (see Community & Industry News section for industry response).

Compounds in Wild Tomatillo Weed May Combat Cancer. Indian Country Today Media Network. 3-27-12. Early research by scientists at the University of Kansas has shown that compounds in this Native American plant are active against several cancers in mice.

Thyme For a More Natural Acne Cure. Leeds Metropolitan University. 3-27-12. A recent British study has shown thyme tincture to kill acne bacterium better than commonly used benzoyl peroxide.

Doctors Critical as Health Canada Loosens Regulation of Natural Medicine. National Post. 3-24-12. Health Canada recently granted licenses to natural products from 2 companies that were prosecuted by the regulating body just a few years ago.

Kava Plant Soothes Texas Customers. The Daily Texan. 3-22-12. A new kava bar in Austin — the only such establishment in the state of Texas — offers customers bowls of liquid prepared by soaking powdered kava root in water for 2 days.

Asian Leaf 'Kratum' Making Presence Felt in US Emergency Rooms. 3-19-12. Sources of this news report claim that an increasing number of ER patients have reportedly ingested the Southeast Asian herb kratum.

Amazon Plant Yields 'Miracle Cure' for Dental Pain. 3-14-12. Indigenous to Peruvian Amazon tribes, the para cress herb is receiving more attention as it becomes a new pharmaceutical company's research focus.

The Boom in 'Himalayan Viagra.' Center for Investigative Reporting. 3-11-12.  Due to its reputation as an aphrodisiac, collecting the Himalayan herb-fungus cordyceps has become a dangerous occupation for many local villagers.


May 5: HerbDay Austin. American Botanical Council in Austin, TX.

May 8-10: SupplySide Marketplace 2012. New York, NY.

July 28-August 1: International Congress on Natural Products Research. New York, NY.

More event listings are available on ABC's website.

Recent News

Expanded Coverage on New Chapter Purchase by Procter & Gamble. New Chapter, Inc., an herb, vitamin, and supplement company based in Brattleboro, Vermont, announced in mid-March its purchase by Procter & Gamble, the world’s largest consumer goods company, for an undisclosed price.

The Growing Industry of Medicinal Cannabis Analysis. Various efforts from several non-profit organizations and state-based laboratories are seeking to establish high-quality standards and practices for the analysis of medicinal cannabis potency and purity.

140th-Ever Cultivated Corpse Flower Blooms at Cornell. In mid-March of 2012, a titan arum — also known as the corpse flower — filled a greenhouse at Cornell University with the scent of rotting meat, becoming one among an estimated 140 cultivated titan arums in history to bloom.

New Hope Inducts Honorees into 'Hall of Legends.' Among several talented and passionate individuals of the herbal and dietary supplements industry, ABC's Mark Blumenthal was recently given a spot on the New Hope Natural Media's Hall of Legends.

The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs Now Available Online. Originally released as a reference book in 2003, The Guide is a 400-plus page, science-based, peer-reviewed text containing complete therapeutic monographs and clinical study details on 30 of the best-selling herbs in the United States at that time.