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When the US Food and Drug Administration accepted comments on its New Dietary Ingredients draft guidance last month, the herbal and dietary supplements community was abuzz with passionate feedback for FDA. An article in this HerbalEGram reviews and analyzes many of these opinions, while also providing deeper insight into the draft guidance's potential impact. 

Coco de Mer
Coco de mer (Lodoicea maldivica). ©2012 Wouter Hagens

Meanwhile, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature recently updated its Red List of Threatened Species and, as an HEG article discusses, some important medicinal plants—including a Taxol-containing yew tree and the giant coco de mer palm seed—are facing an increased risk of extinction. An additional article in this issue covers the recipients of recent awards from the herbal and dietary supplement communities, and another article provides a summary of the American Botanical Council's initiatives and accomplishments in 2011.


The American Botanical Council


HerbalGram 92, now available onlineHG92includes a detailed, compellingly narrative feature on the history of adulteration of herbs, spices and botanical drugs. The issue also features a remembrance of renowned plant researcher and ABC board of trustees member Norman Farnsworth, who recently died at the age of 81. Additional articles include coverage of Health Canada's relaxed p-synephrine guidelines, as well as an update on sequencing the cannabis genome.

Featured Book

January’s featured book excerpt comes from The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: The Cultivator’s Guide to Small-Scale Production, written by Chinese herb expert Peg Schafer. This field guide, published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2011, is the culmination of Schafer’s 15 years of experience growing organic Chinese, Ayurvedic, and other Asian medicinal herbs at her farm in Sonoma County, California. It provides detailed growing and harvesting information for 79 medicinal Chinese herbs. The excerpt selected for readers of HerbalEGram includes the book’s table of contents and Chapter 2, “Herb Quality.”

©2012 Chelsea Green Publishing


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.

Not Enough Vets Trained in Organic Medicine. The Associated Press. 1-4-12. Despite the quickly growing organic livestock industry, few veterinarians have received training in how to care for animals without antibiotics and hormones.

Aging Slowed with Supplement Mix. CBC News. 1-2-12. Mice fed ginseng, garlic, B vitamins, and vitamin D were found to maintain memory, learn better, and be more active as they aged.

ABC's Solvents White Paper Could Help Inform NDI Debate. NutraIngredients. 12-21-11. The American Botanical Council's solvents white paper, to be published in early 2012, provides insight on the definition of "chemically altered" as discussed in the recent debate over New Dietary Ingredients.

San Council Concerned Over Negative Hoodia Reports. Health24. 12-19-11. The indigenous San people of South Africa are pointing out unbalanced media coverage of the recent Unilever article on its hoodia trial results.

Traditional Healing, Science Sought by Aboriginal People. Daily News. 12-17-11. An agreement between Canadian governments and First Nations tribes seeks to provide health programs that combine traditional and modern medicine.

Beauty by the Bite: Cosmetics that you Eat or Drink. New York Times. 12-14-11. Edible cosmetics made of a variety of foods and herbs are becoming available in beauty and health food stores.

Tighter Regulations to Ensure TCM's Safety. China Daily. 12-12-11. Aiming to decrease herbal supplement contamination and adulteration, the Chinese government is creating an herbal medicine standardization plan.

Chinese Herb Mix may Cool Hot Flashes. Reuters. 12-2-11. In a study of 72 women taking a mix of traditional Chinese herbs, researchers found that the herbs decreased the frequency and severity of hot flashes. 



January 17-18: Sustainable Foods Summit. San Francisco, CA. 

February 9-11: Integrative Healthcare Symposium. New York, NY.

March 13-15: 10th International Conference on Functional Foods in the Prevention and Management of Chronic Diseases. Santa Barbara, CA.


More event listings are available on ABC's website.

Recent News
NDI Decision Tree
Decision tree to determine if an
ingredient is an NDI (click to enlarge).
©2012 FDA.

Nonprofits and Industry Groups Comment on FDA's NDI Draft Guidance Document. In response to FDA's draft guidance that sought to clarify the process for New Dietary Ingredient notifications—whose complexity is illustrated by the map to the left—many groups have sent FDA lengthy and passionate feedback expressing their concerns.

IUCN Updates Red List of Threatened Species; Tree Harboring Taxol at Increased Risk. Several medicinal plants face an increased risk of extinction, including Taxus contorta, a yew tree containing the anticancer compound paclitaxel (Taxol).

Herbal Experts Honored with Prestigious Awards. Several individuals and groups have been chosen to receive a variety of awards recognizing their dedication to areas of the herbal and dietary supplements community and industry.

2011 - Another Successful Year for ABC's Educational Mission. ABC did not allow last year's slow economy to hold it back from delivering its unique educational mission in the form of new projects, quality publications, domestic and international lectures, and media outreach efforts.