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Longtime Editor of Phytomedicine Passes the Torch

In 1994, the late Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD, and Hildebert Wagner, PhD, became co-editors of the newly established journal Phytomedicine: International Journal of Phytotherapy and Phytopharmacology. (The former is a founding board member of the American Botanical Council [ABC] and the latter a recipient of the 2007 ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award). Dr. Wagner then served as editor-in-chief of Phytomedicine for 18 years in addition to publishing numerous volumes and articles, providing guidance to more than 1,000 students, and contributing extensively to Echinacea spp. research.1,2

On July 1st of this year, that era came to an end, as Dr. Wagner — at 85 years of age — passed the torch to Alexander Panossian, PhD, ABC Advisory Board member and head of research and development at the Swedish Herbal Institute. Dr. Panossian received his PhD from the Moscow Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry of the USSR Academy of Sciences in 1975 and a doctorate of science in chemistry from the Moscow Institute of Fine Chemical Technology in 1986.3

Dr. Panossian was introduced to the journal in 1994, when he first visited Dr. Wagner’s lab at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany, where Dr. Wagner currently is professor emeritus in the department of pharmacy (email, June 11, 2014).

“At the time, my response was to submit a review article on Bryonia alba [Cucurbitaceae], which we had extensively studied during the previous 20 years, but all the results were published in Russian journals,” said Dr. Panossian. “Submitting an article for publication in ‘foreign’ journals was extremely difficult for researchers in the USSR because of the Cold War and the Iron Curtain and censors’ hindering our submitting articles to foreign journals.” Dr. Panossian went on to publish 14 articles in Phytomedicine and joined the editorial board in 1998.

Despite the editorial transition, Phytomedicine will continue “to provide profound scientific background in Herbal Medicinal Products, their reproducible Quality and evidence based therapeutic Efficacy.”4 This mission is as vital now as ever.

New Phytomedicine offerings also can be anticipated, including a “Quality and Legislation of Botanicals” section, a service called “AudioSlides,” and an annual “Prof. Hildebert Wagner Award.”4

“It is with great honour that I accept this challenge to continue the standards and direction of the journal of Phytomedicine initiated by the two giants in pharmacognosy — Hildebert Wagner and Norman Farnsworth. Their names will always remain as symbols of the highest standards of phytomedicine, phytotherapy and phytopharmacology research,” said Dr. Panossian.

“Professors Wagner and Farnsworth are considered by a large number of medicinal plant research experts as two leading figures in late 20th century and early 21st century pharmacognosy. Accordingly, the journal they created and edited, Phytomedicine, reflects the range and depth of their vast knowledge in the many subjects related to scientific research on medicinal plants,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, and a member of the Phytomedicine editorial board. “Prof. Wagner is to be congratulated and greatly honored for his immense contribution to the world’s pharmacognosy literature in numerous ways,” added Blumenthal, “particularly in the pages of this excellent journal.”

—Ash Lindstrom


  1. Panossian A. 18 years with Phytomedicine! Phytomedicine. 2014;21:781-782.
  2. 3rd Annual American Botanical Celebration draws 250 friends of ABC HerbalGram. 2008;78:12-13. Available at Accessed June 12, 2014.
  3. American Botanical Council Names New Advisory Board Members from International Arena. HerbalGram. 2013;101:15-17. Available at: Accessed June 12, 2014.
  4. Panossian A. Editorial. Phytomedicine. 2014;21:927.