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Butterbur (
Petasites hybridus)
©2012 Steve Nova

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently sent warning letters to 10 companies marketing the controversial ingredient DMAA, claimed by some to be a constituent of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) oil. FDA is claiming that DMAA is synthetic — and not a natural, plant-derived phytochemical — and also that it is a New Dietary Ingredient and the companies have not filed NDI notifications as required by law. This issue of HerbalEGram features coverage of the important development in the Media Watch and Community and Industry News sections.

The Recent News section below features additional news stories, including discussions on NCCAM's new butterbur page, an ancient regenerated plant, the first international ginseng cargo traded under the United States flag in the 18th century, and a guest editorial on economically motivated integrity to combat economically motivated adulteration within the natural products industry.


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

Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD

May’s featured book excerpt comes from Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD: New Options for Kids, Adults & Clinicians by Richard P. Brown and Patricia L. Gerbarg. The excerpt selected for readers of HerbalEGram includes the book’s title page, table of contents, preface, and part of Chapter 3, “From Mother Nature: Herbs, Melatonin, and Nootropics (Brain Boosters).” The book is comprised of 7 chapters in which the authors present an overview of ADHD, the latest scientific research on the condition, and suggestions for how to manage or overcome it without the use of pharmaceuticals.

©2012 W. W. Norton & Company

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.

FDA Cracks Down on DMAA. 4-27-12. FDA's recent warning letters sent to companies marketing this synthetic stimulant have retailers like GNC disagreeing and other groups like NSF International voicing support.

Analyzing Green Tea Leaves vs. Supplements. US Department of Agriculture. 4-27-12. A recent study by researchers at the USDA found that the green tea dietary supplements they analyzed contained degraded flavonol glycosides, oxidized catechin, and undisclosed ingredients.

Canadian Company Looks to Cultivate Medicinal Cannabis in Underground Michigan Mine. National Post. 4-27-12. Prairie Plant Systems, which already grows medicinal plants in this old mine, would like to begin growing cannabis underground to serve the state's medical marijuana patients.

Medical Researchers Tune Into the Internet Buzz. Wall Street Journal. 4-16-12. An increasing number of scientists are scouting social media websites for epidemiological information, including two who are assessing what cancer patients say about herbal supplements.

Scottish Herbal Remedy Store Faces Closure over EU Laws. Deadline News. 4-12-12. The 150-year-old Napiers recently underwent a provisional liquidation in order to reconstruct the business, a move that store owners claim was caused by the EU Traditional Herbal Registration law and slow sales.

TRAFFIC Launches First Medicinal Plant Project in Vietnam. 4-11-12. Empowered News. By implementing the FairWild Standard, this new multi-organizational effort seeks to protect valuable medicinal plants that are currently threatened by over-harvesting and loss of habitat.

Researchers Engineer Efficient Ways to Deliver Food Supplements. The Exponent. 4-6-12. Purdue researchers are devising a way to encapsulate nutraceutical ingredients in special fibers with the hopes of increasing bioavailability.

A Chinese Medicine is Complementary to Cancer Treatment. Wall Street Journal. 4-2-12. Preliminary human trials on the traditional Chinese herbal combination huang qin tang have shown that it helps decrease negative side effects commonly experienced by chemotherapy patients.



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

May 22-25: 9th Annual Natural Health Products Conference and Trade Show. Kelowna, Canada.

June 2-4: Medicines from the Earth Symposium. Black Mountain, NC.

More event listings are available on ABC's website.

Recent News

Experts Say NCCAM's New Butterbur Page Lacks Important Details. Part of NCCAM's consumer-oriented series Herbs at a Glance, the new butterbur page could benefit from citing additional important research and including information on plant parts used for specific health conditions.

Siberian Permafrost Burrow
Scientists obtain plant material from
ancient burrow in Siberian permafrost.
©2012 Institutes of Cell Biophysics,
Physiochemical and Biological Problems in
Soil Science. Russian Academy of Sciences.

Researchers Grow Plants from 32,000-year-old Fruit Tissue. Using plant material that had been buried under Siberian permafrost since the Ice Age, Russian scientists successfully regenerated the narrow-leafed campion.

EMI vs. EMA: "Economically Motivated Integrity" vs. Economically Motivated Adulteration in the Natural Products Supply Chain. In this guest editorial, president of the Bent Creek Institute asserts that respectable natural products companies and organizations can help the industry rise above economically motivated adulteration.

First US-China Trade Ship Carried 30 Tons of Ginseng; Helped Establish American Identity and Roots of International Trade. In 1784, the Empress of China exchanged 30 tons of wild American ginseng for a cargo of tea and helped the new country avoid economic ruin while encouraging the spirit of American commerce.