Get Involved
About Us
Our Members

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

(Austin, TX, March 5, 2009) The 4th Annual American Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony will take place tonight in Anaheim, California. The Celebration is ABC’s way of thanking many of its Sponsor Members who help fund many of ABC’s nonprofit educational programs. The evening will begin with a cocktail reception and feature the presentation of the annual ABC Botanical Excellence Awards, honoring individuals and companies with a great impact on the present and future of the herbal medicine movement. The ABC event is part of the annual Natural Products Expo West trade show and Nutracon scientific conference.

The recipient of the ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award is David J. Mabberley, PhD, for his Mabberley's Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, Their Classifications, and Uses, 3rd edition (Cambridge University Press, 2008). The recipient of the ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award is Prof. Ikhlas A. Khan, PhD, of the University of Mississippi. And the recipient of the ABC Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award is Indena, the world’s leading extractor of standardized botanical extracts.

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

This year, the James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award will be presented to Dr. Mabberley, author of Mabberley's Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, Their Classifications, and Uses, 3rd edition.

This award, created in 2006 by ABC in honor of ABC co-founding Board of Trustees member James A. Duke, PhD, is given annually to a book with a copyright of the previous year (in this case, 2008), or to a literature service, that ABC believes provides a significant contribution to literature in the fields of botany, ethnobotany, phytomedicine, and/or other disciplines related to medicinal plants.
Consisting of 1040 pages, Mabberley's Plant-Book, 3rd edition, contains over 24,000 entries and claims information on every family and genus of seed-bearing plant, including gymnosperms, ferns, and club mosses.1 Each past entry has been updated to incorporate the most recent literature available, and over 1650 new entries (including entries on ecologically and economically significant mosses) have been added.

First published in 1987 as The Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of the Higher Plants and then in 1997 as The Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of the Vascular Plants, this is the first time that ABC has awarded the JAD Botanical Literature Award to a 3rd edition. This improved edition is significantly different from previous editions, which were already widely used and referenced and considered internationally to be indispensable to plant cultivators and researchers. Mabberley’s Plant Book promises in its introduction to continue to be among the most practical and authoritative botanical books available, and it proves true to its word.

“Few, if any, books get as much use in Steven Foster’s and my library as previous editions of Mabberley. Additionally, this new edition includes the best explanation of the taxonomic shifts resulting from the introduction of molecular data—what I call the new taxonomy—for lay plant enthusiast,” wrote Dr. Duke in a review of the book for HerbalGram 82. The author, Dr. David J. Mabberley, is an internationally renowned botanist. He has held prestigious positions at locations such as Wadham College and the Oxford Botanic Gardens and Herbaria of Oxford University, the University of Washington Botanic Gardens in Seattle, and currently the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in Richmond, Surrey, UK. There he serves as keeper of the herbarium, library, art and archives. This award is particularly timely since the world-renowned Kew Gardens celebrates its 250th anniversary in 2009.

Previous recipients of the James A. Duke Award are The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety (Churchill Livingstone, 2005) by Simon Y. Mills and Kerry Bone in 2006, Medicinal Spices: A Handbook of Culinary Herbs, Spices, Spice Mixtures and Their Essential Oils (Medpharm, CRC Press, 2006) by Eberhard Teuscher in 2007, and Google Books in 2008 for their making publicly available many classic titles in the areas of Eclectic Medicine and related subjects of interest to the herbal community.

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

This year the Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award will be presented to Ikhlas A. Khan, PhD, professor of pharmacognosy at the University of Mississippi.

The Norman R. Farsnworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award is named for ABC co-founding Board of Trustee, 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. Khan is a man of many titles. At the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research alone he is the director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Center of Excellence, a research professor, and a professor in the Department of Pharmacognosy. Additionally, he is the director for Sino-US TCM Research Center, director for the Center for Research of Indian Systems of Medicine (CRISM), research professor and coordinator for the Natural Products Research at the Center for Water and Wetlands Research, and an adjunct professor for the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

Born in Amroha, India, Dr. Khan received his bachelors in chemistry in 1980 and his masters in organic chemistry in 1982 (both from the Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, India). In 1987, he received his doctorate in pharmacy from the Institute for Pharmaceutical Biology in Munich, West Germany, where he studied under the renowned Prof. H. Wagner. He joined the University of Mississippi in 19881989 and then completed postdoctoral studies at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zurich. In 1992, he re-joined the University of Mississippi and currently resides in Oxford, Mississippi.

Dr. Khan’s primary research interests include standardization of herbal products and the improvement of product quality and safety, particularly through the development of new analytical methods. He has authored or co-authored over 300 original publications and is invited to speak at events and conferences around the world. He also serves as co-editor of Planta Medica and a foreign editor for Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Dr. Khan serves on several important professional committees. This includes committees for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) in Washington, DC, an expert panel of the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) committee, an expert advisory committee of the Natural Health Directorate of Health Canada, and the Advisory Board of ABC.

Dr. Khan speaks 4 languages: English, German, Hindi and Urdu. He is the recipient of several awards, such as the Cumberland Pharmaceuticals Inc. Faculty Research Award for the years 2007-2008 for the School of Pharmacy, the International Society for Horticultural Science (ISHS) Award for Meritorious Service in 2005, the Researcher of the Year Award in the National Center for Natural Products Research in 2001, and now the well-deserved 2009 Norman Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award from ABC.

“I was really surprised,” said Dr. Khan. “I was not expecting it so soon in my career. I am honored and humbled to receive this prestigious award named for Norman Farnsworth, whom I admire and respect and who is legendary in the field of pharmacognosy and natural products. It is also a very personal honor to follow behind last year’s recipient, Prof. Hildebert Wagner, under whom I received my doctorate. This is certainly a high point in my career.”

ABC's Varro E Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research

This year the Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award will be presented to Indena, SpA, Milan, Italy.

The Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award was named after the late Varro E. Tyler, PhD, former dean of the college of pharmacy at Purdue University and executive vice-president of academic affairs at Purdue. A leading authority in botanical medicines, he was the principle author of several editions of a famous textbook on pharmacognosy, formerly used in all colleges of pharmacy in the United States, plus Herbs of Choice: The Rational Use of Phytomedicinals (Haworth Press, 1994 and revisions). Dr. Tyler was also a Trustee of ABC. That Indena is this year’s recipient is especially appropriate considering that among his few commercial affiliations, Dr. Tyler was a consultant and spokesperson for Indena after his retirement in the late 1990s.

Indena SpA is the world’s leading manufacturer of standardized and scientifically researched plant extracts. The privately-owned company has researched and developed extracts and active principles from medicinal plants for nearly 90 years. It was also instrumental in introducing standardized herbal extracts to the American dietary supplement market 25 years ago.

Indena’s mission is to identify, develop, and produce active principals from plants, for use in the pharmaceutical, health food, and cosmetics industries.3 The company’s considerable success stems from the research it conducts at its personal research center in Settala, Italy involving the screening of medicinal plants for pharmacological benefits, the identification of new active principles, and the development of extraction and purification systems.4 Indena coordinates with universities and research institutions around the world to assess the safety and effectiveness of its extracts up to clinical phase I. The company has accomplished over 150 patents, 700 published scientific studies, and has more than 700 employees. Indena has distribution operations in more than 40 countries, operates 5 production sites, and has 5 international branches.

One of Indena’s most recent successes is with its product Mirtoselect® Bilberry. Mirtoselect® has the advertising slogan “No more half truths,” referring to how there has been varying bilberry quality in the market and Indena’s development of a bilberry standardization widely accepted by many responsible members of the botanical industry. This involves a newly developed High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) analytical method that allows the identification and the direct quantification of the key bilberry anthocyanins (natural pigments mainly responsible for the beneficial properties of bilberry) both in plant material and in extracts.

“First of all, speaking for everyone at Indena, it is a tremendous honor to receive this award,” said Greg Ris, Indena’s vice president of sales. “There was always a deep mutual respect between Indena and Dr. Tyler. “Tip” (Prof. Tyler’s nickname) was a true gentleman who happened to be a leading authority in botanical medicine as a researcher and educator. Knowing that Indena produces high quality extracts that meet the most stringent levels of analytical rigor, he was kind enough to be Indena USA’s consultant and spokesperson in the late 1990s. I would like to thank the American Botanical Council for this prestigious award.”


1 Mabberley D. Mabberley's Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classifications, and Uses, 3rd edition. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press; 2008.
2 Duke J. Mabberley's Plant-Book: A Portable Dictionary of Plants, their Classifications, and Uses, 3rd edition. HerbalGram. 2009;82 [in press].
3 Indena Company Profile. Indena Web site. Available at: Accessed February 18, 2009.
4 Our research page. Indena Web site. Available at: Accessed February 18, 2009.