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USA Today Publishes Story on Alternative and Herbal Allergy Treatments

(March 23, 2006) American Botanical Council Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal was interviewed by Kate Schuler, a freelance writer who is writing a story for USA Today, on the subject of alternative and herbal modalities to prevent or treat various types of allergies. The article was published on March 23, 2006.

In the article, Blumenthal mentioned that discerning which therapies are effective “is a daunting task and can be very confusing” for consumers. He noted that misinformation in the media about regulation of herbs and other dietary supplements-particularly the message that the “industry is not regulated” and similarly erroneous and misleading statements-has a negative effect on consumer confidence in this product area. He stated that sales of herbs in the mass market outlets to the “peripheral” shopper are more easily affected by negative publicity while sales of herbal preparations in the natural food channel to the “core” shoppers continues to hold and is less influenced by adverse media articles.

Blumenthal directed her to various articles in HerbalGram and HerbClip that summarize recent clinical trials on various proprietary herbal preparations that have shown benefits in treating symptoms associated with allergic rhinitis and other forms of respiratory allergies. These include special extracts of butterbur (Petasites hybridus) leaf and root (these include both Ze 339 [leaf] from Zeller in Switzerland and Petadolex® [root] from Weber & Weber in Germany, respectively), as well as a formulation comprised of traditional Ayurvedic herbs (Aller-7® form InterHealth in Benicia, California). He also directed her to a small clinical trial in 1991 on freeze-dried nettle leaves (Urtica dioica, Eclectic Institute, Sandy, OR), as well as other herbs with potential anti-allergy activities, many of which may be used traditionally but for which there are less data from clinical trials to support their use.

The article also mentions several remedies that may help bring relief to allergy sufferers including one study funded by NIH on the effect of a Chinese herb combination.

The original USA Today article can be found at: