The American Botanical Council (ABC) recently hosted its 3rd annual gala-the American Botanical Celebration and Awards Dinner-at the conclusion of the Nutracon Conference and just prior to Natural Products Expo West conference and trade show in Anaheim, California.More than 250 leaders from across the academic and natural prod-ucts community and around the world gathered on March 13, 2008, in the Anaheim Hilton Hotel for the dinner and awards ceremony honoring botanical excellence and celebrating ABC's 20th year of providing reliable educational information on herbs, medicinal plants, phytomedicines, and related plant-based ingredients.
ABC invited and honored its Sponsor and Corporate Members, as well as many others from academia and the natural products indus-try, who provide generous support to ABC's nonprofit educational programs.
"This is a night to celebrate not only ABC's 20th year, but also to celebrate you, the friends and companies who helped to bring ABC to this point.” said Peggy Brevoort, president of the ABC Board of Trust-ees. "We can feel the excitement in the air of being together again; we are so very grateful to our sponsoring companies and so very happy to see you all here.”
The evening began with a cocktail reception and live music, followed by a seated dinner and presentations. Much of the focus was geared toward ABC entering its 20th year of nonprofit educational service to the public, academia and educators, health professionals, the natural products industry, media, and many more, while homage was paid to those in the community that make ABC's mission possible.
ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal kicked off the program with a PowerPoint presentation of ABC's origin, its early years, and a review of many of ABC's numerous educational programs and publications. He also expressed his gratitude to all the ABC members and supporters present at the dinner, plus members of the ABC Board of Trustees, Advisory Board, and the new Director's Circle (a group dedicated to assisting ABC in locating new sources of revenue and finding new ways to promote its nonprofit educational mission).
"Tonight's celebration is not just about ABC and its successes,” he said. "This event is also intended to acknowledge and appreciate the thousands of people, institutions, and companies that have created the ability for consumers and health professionals to gain access to a wider range of high-quality, researched, natural, plant-based ingredients and products that they can use to improve their health.”
ABC's Botanical Excellence Awards were presented toward the end of the evening. (For details, please see sidebar on opposite page.) ABC honored the 2008 recipients of the annual James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award and Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award, as well as recipients of 2 new awards—the Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award and a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by ABC Trustee Steven Foster, was given to 100-year-old Chinese botanist Dr. Shiu-ying Hu.
"Dr. Hu dedicated her life to improving the life of the Chinese people through her love of plants; she was inspired by her parents, who saved her life in infancy with a Chinese herbal remedy,” said Foster. "Consid-ered one of China's leading taxonomists after retiring from Harvard University, she is one of the leading experts on Chinese food and medic-inal plants. Dr. Hu has inspired generations of Chinese students and generously supported their education out of her own salary. An ener-getic centegenarian and a marvel of vitality, ABC is delighted to honor Dr. Shiu-ying Hu.”
The American Botanical Celebration was sponsored by Alkemists Pharmaceuticals, AM Todd Company, Aveda, Capsugel, Horphag Research & Natural Health Science Inc., Indena, Maitake Inc., Nature's Way, New Hope Natural Media, POM Wonderful, Tom's of Maine and the United Natural Products Alliance. The Celebration provided a venue for ABC's diverse leaders to meet, recognize accom-plishments, and make plans to help ensure a positive future for herbal medicine.
ABC Botanical Excellence Award Recipients for 2008
"The modern herbal medicine movement is the result of a continuous process based on the evolution of culture and technology, going back thousands of years,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC. "It is vital that we stop to acknowledge those key people and organizations that have made and continue to make significant contributions to our modern knowledge-base regarding the benefits of herbs and phytomedicines.”
ABC presented the following 4 awards during its 3rd Annual American Botanical Celebration and Awards Dinner 2008.
- James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award Recipient—- Google Book Search. This online tool has made hundreds of rare botanical texts and materia medicas available to the general public. Google Book Search is digitizing many of the world's old books and presenting them to the public in their entirety in searchable format. This project's contributions have increased the avail-ability and awareness of out-of-print, limited access, and otherwise rare botanical classics going back to the 1700s—- the contents of which have previously been available to only a few researchers and collectors.
- Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award Recipient—- Prof. Hildebert Wagner. A professor at the Univer-sity of Munich, Dr. Wagner is internationally recognized for his work in the field of medicinal plant research and has authored over 800 original scientific and clinical papers, 30 review articles in peer-reviewed journals, and several books. He has contributed signifi-cantly to the field of plant immunomodulators (plants with a beneficial effect on the immune system), particularly through his extensive work with the genus Echinacea.
- Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award Recipient—- Dr. Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuti-cals. Based in Karlsruhe, Germany, and established in 1866, Schwabe is universally regarded as one of the world's leading manufac-turers of phytomedicines and is responsible for developing numerous clinically-tested botanical extracts and preparations, most notably the world's first and most clinically-tested extract of the leaf of ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba). Many of the scientific methods and techniques developed and used by Schwabe during the past century have had a significant influence on today's phytopharmaceu-tical and biochemical research.
- ABC Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient—- Dr. Shiu-ying Hu. A 100-year-old Chinese botanist, Dr. Hu was the first Chinese-born woman to receive a doctorate from Harvard University (in 1949) and has worked tirelessly throughout her life compiling mono-graphs and revising the taxonomy of plants in China. She has authored over 160 scientific papers and numerous books—the most recent being Food Plants of China in 2005.