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Peppermint FieldField of peppermint mid-way through growing season.

During a time of year when many people are celebrating summer vacation, ABC is hard at work communicating with the media and initiating new projects. ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal was recently interviewed by a WebMD reporter for comment on a Consumer Reports cover story on the safety of dietary supplements. Within the past few days, ABC has also contributed to new segments on herbs for the popular PBS TV series Healing Quest, filmed at ABC’s Austin headquarters. Also, several spaces are still available for ABC's Botanical Medicine Workshop in the Peruvian Amazon and Machu Picchu in October!

After much consideration and deliberation, ABC recently decided to open its website to advertisers. Standards for advertisements on ABC’s website will be as high as those for ads in ABC’s quarterly journal HerbalGram. Advertisements will be evaluated for accuracy, and advertisers will be requested to provide adequate substantiation for any and all claims made in their ads. Such ads are currently limited to the ABC homepage, and they will not be pop-up ads or use Flash.

This issue of HerbalEGram contains an article on major nutritional supplement company NBTY’s recent agreement to be purchased by the Carlyle Group in a deal valued at $3.8 billion. It also profiles a recent court decision, in which the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been asked to reconsider qualified health claims for selenium and reduced risks of cancers. An article on the controversy over new studies on the ability to grow mint at new latitudes is also featured in this issue.


The Staff of the American Botanical Council


HerbalGram 86 profiles the use of animal-derived products in healing and efforts to replace medicinally used endangered HerbalGram Cover 86animals with botanical alternatives. The use of DNA-based methods for identifying herbal ingredients is also featured in this issue, as is an overview of herbal supplement market sales during 2009. Another article explores efforts in the European Union to prepare for full enforcement of the Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive, including a particularly heated controversy in the United Kingdom.

Featured Book

Ethnobotany of Pohnpei


August's selected book excerpt comes from Ethnobotany of Pohnpei: Plants, People, and Island Culture, compiled and edited by Michael J. Balick and published in 2009. This excerpt, available here, contains the book's title page, table of contents, preface written by Dr. Balick, and Chapter 6, "The Sacred Root: Sakau en Pohnpei," written by Dr. Balick and Roberta A. Lee, MD.


 ©2010 University of Hawai'i 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.

Traditional Chinese Medicine Passed Down to Foreign Heirs. Xinhua. 7-31-10. No longer practiced only within inherited family systems, TCM welcomes many foreign students as the heirs to the centuries-old medical tradition.

Guggul Faces a Sticky End. 7-31-10. India is becoming completely dependent on Pakistani imports of guggul, a medicinal plant prescribed in Ayurvedic medicine. 

 Study Claims Calcium Supplements Raise Heart Attack Risk by 30%. Bloomberg. 7-29-10. According to a new research analysis in the British Medical Journal, patients who took calcium supplements had a 30% increased chance of having a heart attack.

V.A. Easing Rules for Users of Medical Marijuana. New York Times. 7-23-10. A new directive from the Department of Veterans Affairs will officially allow patients to use medical marijuana without losing access to other prescription pain medications.

Making Tea from Backyard Plants. New York Times. 7-21-10. American colonists during the late 1700s had their own version of freedom fries—liberty tea, a drink made from native medicinal plants like goldenrod and thyme.

FDA Increasing Focus on Dietary Supplements. Natural Products Insider. 7-19-10. An analysis by 2 supplement law experts of recent FDA actions asserts that the administration is increasing its focus on enforcing dietary supplement regulations.

Dispute Escalating Over Plant Resources. The Asahi Shimbun. 7-3-10. Developing and industrialized countries are attempting to reach an agreement on the sharing of benefits from supplies of plants and micro-organisms used in many food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic products.

Cleopatra Killed by Drug Cocktail? Discovery News. 7-1-10. A new study claims that Cleopatra did not commit suicide with a snakebite, but instead died from ingesting a poisonous plant mixture.

Community/Industry News

September 30-October 3: American Herbalists Guild National Symposium. Austin, TX.

October 15-17: 2010 Bioneers Conference. San Rafael, CA.

October 19-23: 14th Annual SupplySide West.  Las Vegas, NV. The world’s largest event for healthy ingredients with 1,200+ booths. ABC members are eligible for a $50 discount. Visit or call (800) 454-5760 and reference promo code ABCvip. (Valid through Oct. 15 to CPG/finished product manufacturers; does not replace a previously paid registration.)

Recent News

Major Nutritional Supplement Company NBTY to be Purchased by Carlyle Group. Leading supplement manufacturer NBTY has agreed to be acquired by the global alternative asset manager The Carlyle Group in a transaction reported to be the biggest private equity deal of 2010.

Court Orders FDA to Amend Qualified Health Claims for Selenium. In May, the US District Court for the District of Columbia ordered FDA to reconsider qualified health claims for selenium and reduced risk of cancers.

SEB 51st MeetingControversy Over Recent Mint Research. Studies suggesting Mississippi as a possible production location for mint are being doubted by some in the industry.

Society for Economic Botany Holds 51st Annual Meeting. Attendees gathered in Mexico for SEB's meeting titled “Agrobiodiversity: Lessons for Conservation and Local Development." Photo: The opening reception of SEB's 51st annual meeting was held in the Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa. ©2010 SEB.