ABC by the Numbers in 2010
Despite a challenging economy, in 2010, the American Botanical Council successfully continued its mission to spread science-based information regarding herbal medicine and the uses of beneficial botanicals. Presented here is a quick review of some of the tactics, accomplishments, and milestones resulting from these efforts.
19,600,000 people! The power of television—and more specifically, PBS—is the catalyst for this amazing number of individuals who have been or soon will be exposed to ABC’s unique nonprofit educational mission. ABC has video-recorded 14 “Herbal Insight” segments for the PBS series Healing Quest, co-hosted by singer-actor Olivia Newton-John and broadcast on 145 PBS channels across the United States. Each Herbal Insight segment, featuring ABC’s executive director, Mark Blumenthal, focuses on the history, uses, and benefits of a single herb, making the science behind that herb easily accessible and interesting to the viewer. To view these segments, readers can check their local PBS listing or look on ABC’s website (www.herbalgram.org) under “News.”
As a reliable third-party educational resource, ABC is regularly contacted by the media for interviews regarding recent studies, reports, or articles on herbs and herbal products. In 2009, ABC participated in 64 interviews. In 2010, ABC gave 91 interviews to the media including: The Wall Street Journal, WebMD, Martha Stewart Living, USA Today, Natural Foods Merchandiser, and AARP. In addition, Mark Blumenthal coauthored an article for the Dr. Oz website. These media education efforts are essential to redirect the often misinformed articles on botanicals appearing in magazines, newspapers, and online publications throughout the United States and the rest of the world.
In 2009, ABC—primarily Mark Blumenthal— gave 34 lectures, speeches, and/or talks. In 2010, Blumenthal traveled 118,288 miles to 24 cities, 12 states, 7 countries, and gave 57 presentations that directly educated thousands of individuals. This amounts to his having traveled
4.75 times around the world.
Each year ABC offers internships for pharmacy doctoral students and students earning dietetic bachelor or master’s degrees in their final year of study, helping them understand the vital role that herbs and medicinal plants play in self-care and healthcare. The interns’ experiences at ABC are also designed to teach them how to find reliable information on the potentially beneficial role that herbs and other plant-based dietary supplements can play, and how to incorporate them responsibly into their future professional practice. In 2009, ABC provided 15 internships. However, last year the number of internships awarded was boosted to 21.
In 2010, Mark Blumenthal was the recipient of the prestigious Varro E. Tyler Prize bestowed by the American Society of Pharmacognosy. Dr. Tyler was an early member of the ABC Board of Trustees and a mentor to Blumenthal. According to ASP, Blumenthal was given the award because of his enduring and dedicated service to the botanical supplement and phytomedicine communities, as well as his commitment to the development and dissemination of accurate information about the safety and benefits of botanicals.
Last year, ABC began offering registered users of its website and ABC members the opportunity to send beautiful herbal education electronic cards free of cost. Each E-card, designed by ABC, focuses on a specific herb, features stunning photography by Steven Foster, and provides science-based herbal education on the uses and benefits of the featured herb. There are currently 29 ABC E-cards covering health-related topics such as heart health, vision, and colds; botanicals for each birth month; holidays such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Valentine’s Day; and a few all-occasion cards. Not only are these cards a pleasure to look at, they advocate spreading herbal medicine messages to new audiences and increase knowledge about the science behind correct herb uses. To date, E-cards have been sent to more than 4,895 people, presumably some of whom were previously unacquainted with ABC’s nonprofit educational mission.
In 2010, more than 300 people visited ABC’s office/homestead, located in Austin, Texas. Some were local Texans popping in to ABC to help celebrate HerbDay; others were visiting for the Council for Responsible Nutrition or the American Herbalists Guild conferences, both of which were held in Austin in October of last year. Other visitors included US Military/Baylor University Graduate Program in Nutrition students. The majority of visitors were treated to herb walks through ABC’s 30+ medicinal demonstration gardens, including the newest Ayurvedic garden, dedicated in 2010.
4 issues of HerbalGram covering topics including: Replacing Animal-Based Remedies with Plants; Fair Trade Botanicals; Essential Oils & Drug Resistant Bacteria; Bacopa and Memory; Costa Rican Plants; The Rising of Herb Sales During the Recession; and Saffron and Alzheimer’s.
12 issues of HerbalEGram, ABC’s monthly e-newsletter featuring community and industry news, media watch links, PDFs of recently published books, a calendar of upcoming events, and new articles pertaining to the herbal community.
360 HerbClips, summaries and/or critical reviews (15 produced twice monthly) of clinical trials, articles, or other publications related to medicinal plants.
These publications are a benefit of ABC membership. More information about how to become an ABC member and thus support ABC’s educational efforts is available by contacting ABC at 512-926-4900 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2010, 14 ABC employees provided services to over 3,000 members in approximately 80 countries. The accomplishments outlined in this article are made possible mainly by the dedication of the many volunteers who offer their time and talents to keep ABC the premier herbal education organization, as well as to the members who provide the necessary resources to meet ABC’s unique and essential nonprofit education mission. The ABC staff dedicates all of ABC’s successes of 2010 to this wide and varied group of people who are interested in the beneficial roles that herbs and medicinal plants can and will play in self-care and healthcare.