The American Botanical Council (ABC) proudly announces the publication of its 5,000th HerbClip on June 29, 2012. HerbClips are 2-to-3-page summaries and critical reviews of seminal articles covering medicinal plant-related clinical research, regulation, market information, and conservation and sustainability.
HerbClip summaries and critical reviews are typically based upon human clinical trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of such clinical trials, and other articles dealing with ethnobotany, conservation and sustainability, and regulation of herbs and medicinal botanical products. These articles are drawn from a wide variety of peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, monographs, government documents, special reports, trade journals, and the mainstream media. In addition to summarizing the original article, an HerbClip may include insights, perspectives, criticism, and/or links to other articles and issues. HerbClip summaries and reviews are examined by consulting editors and peer reviewers before they are published to help ensure their accuracy.
HerbClip’s roots stretch back to 1993, just 5 years after ABC was created. At the time, Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal would often photocopy and then share relevant news articles with numerous friends and professional colleagues. When the cost of toner for ABC’s copier reached what at that time was a prohibitive $200 per month, inspiration struck. Blumenthal called 2 close friends in the herb industry and asked if they would be willing to pay for a service to send them articles related to herb research, regulation, etc. The friends agreed and HerbClip was born.
In the beginning, HerbClip involved mailing summaries and reviews of herbal literature to ABC colleagues in the academic and scientific communities, as well as key members of industry. At the time, no such service existed in the natural medicine and herbal supplement industry. The groundbreaking HerbClips offered not only summaries and reviews, but also the original articles on which they were based when such permissions were granted by the articles’ publishers. In 2005, ABC started to include HerbClip News with each mailing. The year 2007 saw the first electronic HerbClips sent to ABC members, dramatically expanding the number of people receiving HerbClip. By 2009, all HerbClips were being delivered electronically. This change not only saved ABC the printing and postage fees of regular mailings, but further solidified the organization’s commitment to environmental sustainability.
“As one of ABC’s unique seminal publications, HerbClip has been integral to fulfilling our mission of providing reliable educational resources using science-based information to promote the responsible use of herbal medicine,” said Blumenthal.
“Reaching the 5,000th HerbClip is a gratifying milestone for a project that started out as simply as my sharing news with a few friends and colleagues,” continued Blumenthal. “The increase in media articles and published clinical trials over the last 2 decades has been absolutely astounding, though, making the need for such a service greater than ever before.”
“We now release 30 HerbClips each month and it is still not possible for us to cover every relevant publication, especially now that we are so firmly entrenched in the digital world. With this in mind, we will continue our commitment to bring the latest news and information, along with thoughtful analyses and summaries, to our members.”
As HerbClip marks this milestone, Managing Editor Lori Glenn says she is “deeply grateful to all the wonderful writers, consulting editors, peer reviewers, and ABC staff who have been a part of the HerbClip process. Their time and dedication have been beyond valuable in the almost decade that I have been the HerbClip Managing Editor.”
To HerbClip readers, Glenn says, “More often than not, I am unaware of the stories of the people who access HerbClip as a learning tool for themselves and for others, but I appreciate their dissemination of the information provided in HerbClips and hope that the knowledge they obtain aids them, whether it be for academic knowledge, commercial applications, or personal healing.”
Blumenthal added another note of acknowledgement. “We are deeply grateful to Lori Glenn for almost 10 years of service to ABC as the HerbClip Managing Editor, and to Mariann Garner-Wizard and Heather S. Oliff, PhD, who have each written hundreds of HerbClips for over 10 years.”
Francis Brinker, ND, HerbClip consulting editor, clinical assistant professor at the Department of Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine, and ABC Advisory Board member, says “A great challenge of modern herbal science is trying to keep up with the wide array of pioneering investigations on botanicals… as well as environmental, regulatory, and trade issues, etc. Long before I became a consulting editor for HerbClip, I relied on the steady supply of these diverse and pertinent herbal article summaries to help keep me abreast of important movements in advancing the knowledge of herbs, and I still do.”
Tieraona Low Dog, MD, director of the fellowship, Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, clinical assistant professor, Department of Medicine, University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, and also an ABC Advisory Board member, believes “HerbClips are an invaluable resource for busy clinicians who are trying to keep up-to-date with the research on herbal medicines. They are a tremendous contribution to the field, which is why we offer them to all of our Fellows at the University of Arizona center for Integrative Medicine.”
HerbClip summaries and reviews are available online through the ABC website, www.herbalgram.org. The entire database of 5,000 articles is totally searchable by any search term, including the herbs' common and Latin names, names of authors of the originally cited article, journal titles, pharmacological actions, and/or clinical endpoints tested in clinical trials, and more.
Fifteen new HerbClips and an HerbClip news article are produced twice monthly. All ABC members and non-members, have access to at least 2 free HerbClips from each installment; all ABC members at the Academic level and above can access all HerbClips; Sponsor members receive HerbClips and, when available, the PDF versions of the original articles on which they are based.