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American Botanical Council Launches Second Online Training and Certification Course for Herb Retailers and Health Practitioners


News Release

AUSTIN, Texas. (Dec. 2, 2005) - The American Botanical Council (ABC) has launched Course Two in its Herbal Information Course. The training and certification program is available on the Internet ( and is designed for anyone who discusses herbs and related dietary supplements with customers or patients.

Course Two is a recertification course for those having already taken Course One. Upon completion of all three modules in Course Two, the participant receives a new certificate which renews his or her status as an Herbal Information Specialist (HIS) for another year and a window decal stating that an ABC-certified Herbal Information Specialist is on staff. Independent or chain natural food retail stores that participate in the online course for their employees can also request a formatted press release that can be used to promote to their community that they are qualified providers of credible information on medicinal herbs.

The ABC Herbal Information Course will provide training for retail staff members, multi-level marketing distributors, dietary supplement sales and customer service staff, those who sell herbal products, and those who advise patients. Licensed healthcare practitioners can take the course and receive an ABC certification in addition to their own licensure.

"In the current climate of consumers taking more responsibility for their own health, it is imperative that retailers and healthcare providers be as knowledgeable as their customers and patients regarding science-based information on the herbs that are currently being sold in the U.S. market,” said Mark Blumenthal, ABC Founder and Executive Director. “These courses are designed to help fill that need and help businesses establish credibility, build consumer confidence in these products, and help ensure that they will be used responsibly.”

Course One, launched in 2004, provides an overview of herbs and dietary supplements, and general information on 29 popular herbs. Course Two provides additional information on safety, standardization, market data, legal and regulatory issues, added information on the herbs in Course One, and on more herbs, including detailed therapeutic data on elder berry.

The cost of Course Two is $69.95 for a single participant. Participants paying by credit card may register online for either course at To pay by check or money order or for quantity discounts, contact Janet McCombs at 800-452-6854. ABC Sponsor members who want to purchase quantities of the course should contact Wayne Silverman PhD at 512-926-4900 x120 or the Development Department.

The courses are provided by ABC and are hosted by National Training Institute (NTI), a division of Virgo Publishing that develops and provides online training and certification programs in a variety of industries.

About the American Botanical Council

The American Botanical Council is the leading nonprofit education and research organization disseminating science-based information promoting the safe and effective use of medicinal plants and phytomedicines. Founded in 1988, ABC works to educate the public, healthcare practitioners, researchers, media, and government agencies on the safe and effective use of medicinal plants and phytomedicines. ABC publishes HerbalGram, a peer reviewed quarterly journal, and HerbClip, a twice-monthly group of summaries and critical reviews of recently published clinical, scientific, regulatory, and market literature dealing with herbs, phytomedicines, and other plant-based preparations. More at

About Virgo Publishing

Virgo Publishing produces the trade magazines HSR: Health Supplement Retailer and Natural Products Industry Insider, as well as the SupplySide East, SupplySide West, and Focus on the Future trade shows and conferences. More at


Editor’s Note: Mark Blumenthal and Gayle Engels areavailable for interviews. Please contact Nancy Moon at512-926-4900 x121 or the American Botanical Council.

American Botanical CouncilPhone: 512-926-4900 x114; Fax: 512-926-2345Contact: Gayle Engels, Education CoordinatorEmail: the American Botanical CouncilWeb site: