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ABC Announces “Adopt-an-Herb” Program

The American Botanical Council (ABC) invites companies across the world to help keep its herbal database HerbMedPro supplied with the most up-to-date research by participating in a new program called “Adopt-an-Herb.”

The Adopt-an-Herb program supports ABC’s ongoing efforts to collect, protect, and disseminate information on herbs and herbal medicine. Through this program, companies provide funding to “adopt” one or more specific herbs. These adoptions will help ensure that abstracts of the latest published scientific and clinical research on those sponsored herbs are made available within the ABC-administered HerbMedPro, one of the most robust and powerful herbal databases and research tools on the Internet.

By adopting herbs, companies help prioritize which of the 216 herbs currently in HerbMedPro will get updated regularly and also determine which new herbs are added to the database. The result is that through ABC membership, consumers, researchers, educators, media, health practitioners, government agencies, members of industry, and others can use HerbMedPro via ABC’s Web site to access the latest scientific and clinical publications on the adopted herbs.

HerbMedPro is now operated through a partnership between the Alternative Medicine Foundation and ABC. It is an interactive, impartial, and evidencebased herbal database that provides hyperlinked access to freely-available abstracts of scientific and clinical publications on 216 commonly used medicinal herbs and phytomedicines. Herb records in HerbMedPro vary in size from those with a very large amount of published data, such as ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba, Ginkgoaceae), with over 1,000 summarized entries and links, to Acacia catechu (cutch tree or black catechu in the family Fabaceae), with fewer than 50.

HerbMedPro has a free “sister” site, HerbMed, which features 20-30 herbs from HerbMedPro that are rotated onto this site on a regular basis. This site is available at no cost to the public, thereby increasing the number of people benefitting from updated information on adopted herbs.

ABC is pleased to announce that Tea Dragon Films is the first official participant of the new Adopt-an-Herb program. In honor of its new documentary film, The Meaning of Tea (see article on page 22 for details), Tea Dragon Films has adopted tea (Camellia sinensis, Theaceae) for the next 3 years.

All adopters will be recognized by ABC for helping to promote ABC’s nonprofit educational mission and for helping to ensure that up-to-date herbal information on their adopted herb is readily accessible to the general public. This recognition will take place on ABC’s Web site and in its publications, including ABC’s quarterly journal HerbalGram.

Future plans for disseminating information on herbs include enhancing HerbMedPro into HerbMedProPlusTM. This upgraded version of the database will include all of the power and access currently available in HerbMedPro, plus the ability to search and pull all related information available on ABC’s Web site, including HerbalGram articles, HerbClips, Commission E Monographs, Expanded Commission E Monographs, monographs from The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, and much more. It will also pull information in the form of links to other reputable sources, e.g., the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and other respected and authoritative sources of herb information. This increased functionality will make the sophisticated HerbMedPro database even more useful.

More information on the benefits of ABC’s Adopt-an-Herb program is available from Denise Meikel, ABC’s development director, by email or by calling 512-9264900, extension 120.

—Denise Meikel