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ABC’s 2009 Botanical Excellence Awards
The 4th Annual American Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony took place March 5, 2009, in Anaheim, California, with approximately 250 people in attendance. The evening kicked off with a cocktail reception and featured the presentation of the annual ABC Botanical Excellence Awards, honoring individuals and companies with a significant positive impact on the present and futureof the herbal medicine movement.

ABC’s James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award

The 2009 James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award was presented to David J. Mabberley, PhD, author of Mabberley’s Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, Their Classifications, and Uses, 3rd edition.

The Duke award, created in 2006 in honor of ABC co-founding Board of Trustees member James A. Duke, PhD, is given annually to a book from the preceding year, or to a literature service, that ABC believes provides a significant contribution to literature in the fields of botany, ethnobotany, phytomedicine, and/or other disciplines related to medicinal plants.

Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, contains over 24,000 entries and claims information on every family and genus of seed-bearing plant, including gymnosperms, ferns, and club mosses.1 Each past entry has been updated to incorporate the most recent literature available, and over 1650 new entries have been added.

First published in 1987 as The Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of the Higher Plants and then in 1997 as The Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants, this improved edition is significantly different from previous editions—which have been widely used and referenced and considered internationally to be indispensable to plant cultivators and researchers.

The author, Dr. Mabberley, is an internationally renowned botanist. He has held prestigious positions at locations such as Oxford Botanic Gardens and the Herbaria of Oxford University, the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle, and currently the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in Richmond, Surrey, UK. There he serves as keeper of the herbarium, library, art and archives. This award is particularly timely since the world-renowned Kew Gardens celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2009.

A review of Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, written by Dr. Duke and Steven Foster, is published on page 64 in this issue of HerbalGram.

ABC’s Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award

The 2009 Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award was given to Ikhlas A. Khan, PhD, professor of pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi.

The Farnsworth Award is named for ABC co-founding Board of Trustee, Prof. Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD. ABC presents this award each year to a person or institution who has made significant contributions to botanical and/or pharmacognostic research.

At the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research, Dr. Khan serves as director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center of Excellence, and a professor in the Department of Pharmacognosy. Additionally, he is the director for Sino-US TCM Research Center, director for the Center for Research of Indian Systems of Medicine (CRISM), research professor and coordinator for Natural Products Research at the Center for Water and Wetlands Research, and an adjunct professor for the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Dr. Khan earned his bachelors in chemistry and his masters in organic chemistry from the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India. In 1987, he received his doctorate in pharmacy from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology in Munich, West Germany, where he studied under the renowned Prof. Hildebert Wagner. He joined the University of Mississippi in 1988–1989 and then completed postdoctoral studies at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. In 1992, he re-joined the University of Mississippi and currently resides in Oxford, Mississippi.

Dr. Khan’s primary research interests include standardization of herbal products and the improvement of product quality and safety, particularly through the development of new analytical methods. He has authored or co-authored over 300 original publications, has given speeches at events and conferences around the world, and serves on several important professional committees. He also serves as co-editor of the pharmacognosy and research journal Planta Medica and is a foreign editor for Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“I was really surprised,” said Dr. Khan about receiving the Farnsworth Award (oral communication, February 10, 2009). “I was not expecting it so soon in my career. I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award named for Norman Farnsworth, whom I admire and respect and who is legendary in the field of pharmacognosy and natural products. It is also a very personal honor to follow behind last year’s recipient, Prof. Hildebert Wagner, under whom I received my doctorate. This is certainly a high point in my career.”

ABC’s Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award

The 2009 Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award was presented to Indena, SpA, of Milan, Italy.

The Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award was named after the late Varro E. Tyler, PhD, a leading authority in botanical medicines, as well as a Trustee of ABC. That Indena is this year’s recipient is especially appropriate considering that, among his few commercial affiliations, Dr. Tyler was a consultant and spokesperson for Indena after his retirement in the late 1990s.

Indena SpA has researched and developed extracts and active principles from medicinal plants for nearly 90 years. It was also instrumental in introducing standardized herbal extracts to the American dietary supplement market 25 years ago.

Indena’s mission is to identify, develop, and produce active principles from plants, for use in the pharmaceutical, health food, and cosmetics industries.2 The company’s considerable success stems from the research it conducts at its personal research center in Settala, Italy involving the screening of medicinal plants for pharmacological benefits, the identification of new active principles, and the development of extraction and purification systems.3 Indena coordinates with universities and research institutions around the world to assess the safety and effectiveness of its extracts up to clinical phase I. The company has accomplished over 150 patents, 700 published scientific studies, and has more than 700 employees. Indena has distribution operations in more than 40 countries, operates 5 production sites, and has 5 international branches.

“First of all, speaking for everyone at Indena worldwide, it is a tremendous honor to receive this award,” said Greg Ris, Indena’s vice president of sales (e-mail, February 9, 2009). “There was always a deep mutual respect between Indena and Dr. Tyler. ‘Tip’ (Prof. Tyler’s nickname) was a true gentleman. I would like to thank the American Botanical Council for recognizing Indena’s leadership in the botanical extract arena by bestowing on us this prestigious award.”

—Kelly Saxton Lindner
  1. D Mabberley. Mabberley’s Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classifications, and Uses, 3rd edition. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 2008.

  2. Indena Company Profile. Indena Web site. Available at: http://www. Accessed February 18, 2009.

  3. Our research page. Indena Web site. Available at: http://www.indena. com/pages/research.php. Accessed February 18, 2009.