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ABC’s 2010 Botanical Excellence Awards

The 5th Annual American Botanical Council (ABC) Celebration and Awards Ceremony took place March 11, 2010, in Anaheim, California, as part of the Natural Products Expo West trade show and Nutracon scientific conference. ABC’s awards honor individuals and companies who influence the present and future of the herbal medicine movement.

ABC’s executive director, Mark Blumenthal, opening the awards ceremony of the 5th Annual ABCelebration in Anaheim, California. Photo ©2010 ABC

From left to right, Mark Blumenthal; Wolfgang Aulenbacher, US CEO of Bionorica; Tony Willis, librarian of Oak Spring Garden Library; and Steven Foster, President of the ABC Board of Trustees.Photo ©2010 ABC

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

The 2010 James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award was given to Lucia Tongiorgi Tomasi, PhD, and Tony Willis for their book An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbs and Herbals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries: A Selection of the Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon.1 The book was published by the Oak Spring Garden Library in Upperville, Virginia in 2009.

This award, created in 2006 in honor of ABC co-founding Board of Trustees member James A. Duke, PhD, is given annually to a book or book service that provides a significant contribution to literature in the fields of botany, taxonomy, ethnobotany, phytomedicine, or other disciplines related to the vast field of medicinal plants.

An Oak Spring Herbaria features 63 black-and-white and color scans of herbal paintings and other plant art ranging from the 14th to 19th centuries—all selected from the library’s extensive collection. The book also contains a richly-detailed history of the early origins of herbal art and literature, as well as the development of herbals and their uses.

“Every once in a while, a book arrives that changes whatever plans I may have had for the day. So it is with An Oak Spring Herbaria, an extraordinary work,” said ABC Board of Trustees President Steven Foster (e-mail, March 4, 2010). “I love the fact that it included illustrated American herbals of note. When the book arrived, I stopped what I was doing and thumbed through it leaf by leaf.”

Dr. Tomasi is a professor of art history at the University of Pisa in Italy, and Willis has worked at the Oak Spring Garden Library as a librarian for almost 30 years.

“I think it’s absolutely amazing to receive this award on behalf of the library and Mrs. Mellon’s collection,” said Willis (oral communication, March 3, 2010). “We are surprised and so grateful!”

Dr. Tomasi, likewise, expressed her appreciation for the award, which she says recognizes her 20 years of work. “We are so happy to have had the honor to have contributed to the world this extraordinary artistic and scientific treasure stored at Oak Spring Garden Library (Mrs. Rachel Mellon Foundation),” she said (e-mail, March 8, 2010).

An Oak Spring Herbaria is the 4th volume in a series about Rachel Mellon’s private collection of rare books and drawings concerning plants and gardening. Other volumes in the series include An Oak Spring Sylva (1990), An Oak Spring Pomona (1990), and An Oak Spring Flora (1997).

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

The 2010 Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award was presented to Rudolf Bauer, PhD, head of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences and of the Department of Pharmacognosy at the University of Graz in Austria. He has spent many years researching echinacea (Echinaceae spp., Asteraceae): its active compounds, constituents, pharmacology, quality control, standardization, and safety.

The award is named for ABC co-founding Board of Trustees member 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.

Dr. Bauer received his PhD in pharmaceutical biology in 1984 from the University of Munich. He wrote a landmark book on echinacea2 (with co-author Hildebert Wagner, PhD) in 1990, and he co-wrote a groundbreaking paper on echinacea authentication in 1987.3 Recently, he’s helped elucidate the mechanisms of action for some of echinacea’s constituents (alkamides) while helping train the next generation of pharmacologists through his teaching.

Dr. Bauer has published 250 scientific publications, served as editor and co-editor of several books, and has been a member of the editorial and review boards of several scientific journals. He is a past co-editor of the international journal Planta Medica, and he has served as the Society for Medicinal Plant Research’s president (2002–2007) and vice-president (1998–2002 and 2007–2009).

“I feel very much honored and happy to receive this award,” said Dr. Bauer (oral communication, March 5, 2010). “I’ve known Dr. Farnsworth for 30 years and feel very proud. He is the leading figure in the field, he’s an outstanding scientist, and he’s also a character with an outstanding personality as well. It is wonderful to have my work appreciated in this way and encourages me to continue it.”

“I’ve known Rudy Bauer since he was a student, and I’ve followed his career closely,” said Prof. Farnsworth (oral communication, March 4, 2010). “I was pleased he was given this award based on his research on the pharmacology and phytochemistry of medicinal plants.”

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

The 2010 Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award was given to Bionorica AG, a manufacturer and clinical researcher of herbal remedies, with phytomedicinal products sold in 40 countries.

The award was named after the late Varro E. Tyler, PhD, former dean of the College of Academic Affairs at Purdue University. Dr. Tyler was a leading authority in botanical medicines and a Trustee of ABC.

Founded in 1933, Bionorica AG’s headquarters and herb extraction and manufacturing plant are located in Neumarkt, Germany, with many additional laboratories that focus on quality in various other locations.4 (Bionorica products are distributed in the United States through Bionorica LLC in San Clemente, CA).

Bionorica takes an approach to creating clinically-proven health products that it calls “phytoneering.” This process includes finding plants with the strongest healing properties, controlling production from the research stage to extraction and development of finished product, as well as performing clinical research to determine the efficacy and safety of its products.

Bionorica has produced more than 450 published chemical, pharmacological, and clinical trials on its line of phytomedicines. The company manufactures Sinupret®, a 5-herb combination for sinus health. Sinupret is the top-selling herbal remedy in Germany, and it was the most popular cough and cold remedy chosen by self-selection and self-medication in Germany in 2006, 2007, and 2008. In 2009, ABC published an extensive product-specific monograph summarizing the pharmacological and clinical trials on Sinupret (available at ABC’s website,

In addition to Sinupret, Bionorica produces numerous clinically tested phytomedicines: Menopret® (previously called Klimadynon®), a respected extract of black cohosh (Actaea racemosa syn. Cimicifuga racemosa, Ranunculaceae) used for menopausal relief; an extract of chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus, Verbenaceae) berries used for menstrual irregularities; AsalixxTM, a willow (Salix spp., Salicaceae) bark extract, for low back pain, joint pain, and chronic conditions; and others.

“We are very pleased to receive this award from ABC,” said Michael Popp, third generation CEO of Bionorica, in a press release.5

“Bionorica has an outstanding reputation for excellent management of herbs from the time they go into the ground to the time they go into the bottle,” said Mary Hardy, MD, medical director of Simms/Mann-UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology (oral communication, March 4, 2010).

“Bionorica has one of the most outstanding phytochemical labs I’ve ever seen,” she continued. “Their research covers the gamut from botany to human clinical trials. I would like to see their year-long safety study on black cohosh become a model for the industry.”

Editor’s Note: In bestowing this award, ABC is not endorsing the company or its products but rather acknowledging the company’s impressive commitment to phytomedicinal research.

—Kelly E. Lindner
  1. Tomasi LT, Willis T. An Oak Spring Herbaria: Herbs and Herbals from the Fourteenth to the Nineteenth Centuries: A Selection of the Rare Books, Manuscripts and Works of Art in the Collection of Rachel Lambert Mellon. Upperville, VA: Oak Spring Garden Library; 2009.

  2. Bauer R, Wagner H. Echinacea–Ein Handbuch für Ärzte, Apotheker und andere Naturwissenschaftler, Wissenschaftliche Verlagsgesellschaft mbH Stuttgart, Germany; 1990.

  3. Bauer R, Khan IA, Wagner H. Echinacea–Nachweis einer Verfälschung von Echinacea purpurea (L.) Moench mit Parthenium integrifolium L. Dtsch. Apoth. Ztg. 1987; 127:1325–1330.

  4. Bionorica history page. Bionorica website. Available at: Accessed February 16, 2010.

  5. American Botanical Council (ABC) names Bionorica AG as a recipient of Varro E. Tyler Phytomedicinal Research Award during annual ceremony [press release]. Neumarkt, Germany: Bionorica AG; March 12, 2010.