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We were initially unsure whether to publish our cover story on devil's club. We recognize that featuring of a relatively obscure herb on the cover of HerbalGram might increase its visibility in the marketplace. Previous cover articles have generated many stories in the mainstream media. For example, in 1997 our 24-page cover article on kava (HerbalGram 39) contributed to its dramatically increased popularity, and our recent cover story on Rhodiola rosea (HerbalGram 56) and rooibos (HerbalGram 59) have had similar results.

I have had a fascination with devil's club for many years, since I first saw the prickly-stemmed plant growing in forested stream beds in northern Oregon in the mid 1980s. I knew from my scant ethnobotanical knowledge that this ginseng cousin was highly revered as a medicinal plant by indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest, but I had no idea how deeply valued it is/was until I received a manuscript from Trevor Lance, Kristina Swerhun, and Nancy Turner last summer. These authors write that devil's club is the most revered and widely used medicinal and "spiritual" plant growing in its range. I remember reading and editing the manuscript one sweltering August afternoon on the banks of Austin's premier natural jewel, Barton Springs, between dips in the bracing 68 degree water and my response to the submission being an unqualified "yes"!

We publish this ethnobotanical review wishing we could include more scientific and clinical research to support its traditional uses; however, such is relatively scarce; little scientific research has been done on devil's club. We are fully aware that devil's club may have some conservation and sustainability issues if it were to become commercially popularized. This is not our intent and we have approached the publication gingerly , to borrow an herbal term.

Speaking of conservation and sustainability of wild medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPs), we include in this issue a report on the recent second conference co-sponsored by the Medicinal Plant Working Group, Aveda, and other groups, including ABC, where government agencies, nonprofit groups, and responsible elements of the herb industry are cooperating to help conserve MAPs and not only to develop sustainable sources of supply but also to honor and help support the indigenous cultures from which much traditional herbal knowledge is derived.

Moving on, lycopene has become one of the most popular "nutraceuticals" in the past few years with announcements of recent research continuing to suggest its benefits in the area of prostate health and the possible prevention of various types of cancer. We publish a comprehensive literature review by Israeli scientists Joseph Levy and Yoav Sharoni giving an up-to-date overview on this interesting carotenoid, found in tomatoes, watermelons, and pink grapefruits.

Now for a few introductions. We welcome our good friend Rakesh M. Amin as our new "Associate Editor for Legal and Regulatory Affairs" who has contributed two articles for this issue–a follow up from last issue on FDA's ephedra ban and an article on the FTC's policy for marketing weight loss products. Rakesh has a background that expertly qualifies him to contribute such articles to us: he is both a registered pharmacist and an attorney specializing in intellectual property rights, particularly in the herb and dietary supplement field. His practice is in Chicago.

We also welcome our new managing editor, Michael Finney. Michael has a master's degree in technical writing and comes to us from outside the herbal world. He formerly edited publications at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, but we are assured that this does not mean ABC has become part of the "military-industrial complex." Michael replaces Karen Robin, who left us in January after four years of excellent service to ABC, initially as the HerbClip managing editor for one year, and in the last three managing HerbalGram. She has moved to the Washington D.C. area to become the Communications Director for AHPA. We wish her much success in her new role and her new life.