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Herb Day USA: A Good Day for Herbal Medicine

Six of the leading organizations in the botanical medicine industry and community – American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), American Herbalists Guild, United Plant Savers, American Botanical Council, and Herb Research Foundation – have joined together under the name Herb Day Coalition, in a proactive effort to bring the good news about herbs to American consumers.

Long overdue, this cooperative effort, the inspiration of Michael McGuffin, AHPA president, and Roy Upton, AHP executive director, grew out of a desire to present consumers with accurate, contemporary, and useful information about the beneficial role of herbs in modern health care.

In September 2003, a nationally coordinated day of herbal events will occur simultaneously in natural foods stores and botanical gardens from coast-to-coast. With underwriting support from the herbal manufacturing industry and retailers (who are generously supporting the effort with national "5 percent days") these events will teach consumers about the medicinal and health benefits of herbs from many perspectives. In addition, there will be an atmosphere of celebration for the plants that provide us with flavor, beauty, and health-giving properties every day. Proceeds from the events will be divided among the six organizations, which educate the public and industry on herbal product safety and quality, traditional and clinical herbal medicine practice, and botanical medicine conservation.

Most events will be free, and will include lectures and book signings by nationally acclaimed herbalists and authors, guided plant walks, product demonstrations, crafts, kids activities, and product sample giveaways. Herb Day USA has been described by many in the herbal community as a "win-win" effort – everyone stands to gain from the positive focus on herbs.

In addition to the in-store events planned nationwide, a kick-off event is being planned for early September to be held at the National Botanical Gardens in Washington, D.C. The timing will coincide with Natural Products Expo East, a major natural products and dietary supplement trade show, and will bring manufacturers, legislators, and consumers together for an afternoon of events, including presentations by noted guest speakers and special entertainment.

Aviva Romm is the National Coordinator of Herb Day USA and President of the American Herbalists Guild.