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ABC’s Mark Blumenthal to Receive Varro E. Tyler Prize from ASP

Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC), will receive the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s (ASP) Varro E. Tyler Prize during the 51st meeting of ASP. This annual event will take place July 10–14, 2010, in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida, and will be held in conjunction with the Phytochemical Society of North America.

Founded in 1959, ASP branched from the Plant Science Seminar, which was established in 1923. This international society is dedicated to the promotion, growth, and development of pharmacognosy and all aspects of science related to natural products. ASP awards its Tyler Prize each year to someone who has made a significant contribution to medicinal plant research, education, and/or advocacy for plant-based medicines.

According to the Varro E. Tyler Prize Committee, this award was given to Blumenthal because of his long, dedicated service to the botanical supplement/phytomedicine community, effective leadership of ABC, and his commitment to the development and dissemination of accurate information about the safety and benefits of botanicals. In addition, the selection committee noted that Blumenthal’s vision for and leadership of ABC is a strong reflection of the style and approach of Professor Tyler.

The award is named after the late Varro E. Tyler, PhD, ScD, former dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and vice-president of Academic Affairs at Purdue University. Professor Tyler was a leading authority in science-based botanical remedies, including both plant-derived pharmaceutical drugs and herbal dietary supplements. He was the senior author of several editions of the leading textbook on pharmacognosy (the study of drugs of natural origin) and the author of numerous other professional and popular books and hundreds of articles. He was also a Trustee of ABC.

Blumenthal has over 36 years of experience with herbs and medicinal plants, initially as an entrepreneur in the herbal industry in the 1970s and 1980s. For the past 23 years, he has served as an advocate for research and science-based education in the area of plant-based medicines and dietary supplements. Blumenthal has authored hundreds of articles and reviews and is the editor and publisher of ABC’s quarterly peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram.

“I am deeply grateful and humbled to have been chosen by ASP to receive the Tyler Prize,” said Blumenthal. “Tip—his nickname he allowed his friends and close colleagues to call him—was a deeply influential mentor in my professional life. He taught me much about the need to keep seeking for evidence of the safety and efficacy of herbal medicines.”

“Varro Tyler and Mark Blumenthal were close friends and confidants, and Mark considered Tip Tyler to be his mentor,” said Norman Farnsworth, PhD, distinguished professor and research professor of Pharmacognosy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “Through the activities of the American Botanical Council, which Mark founded, his mission and goals were to further educate the public (and hopefully scientists in the area of natural products) to the benefits of herbal supplements through extensive writings in this area and also through his hundreds of lectures throughout the USA and abroad. Tip Tyler would have been proud that Mark Blumenthal has been awarded this prestigious award, and I offer my sincere congratulations.”

“Mark and Tip were good friends, and I know that Tip would be very pleased that Mark is receiving the ASP Tyler Award—I am, too,” said Ginny Tyler, Dr. Tyler’s wife. “Mark has done a wonderful job with his HerbalGram magazine, which is full of information about herbs.”

Blumenthal is a frequent speaker at national and international professional and industry conferences about herbal medicine. He previously served as an adjunct associate professor of medicinal chemistry at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin for 6 years, teaching a course on herbal products to pharmacy students. Before starting ABC in 1988, he served as co-founder and former vice-president of the Herb Research Foundation (HRF), president of the Herb Trade Association, and was a founding board member of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA).

Blumenthal is the senior editor of the English translation of The Complete German Commission E Monographs—Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines (1998), which was the second-ranked medical book in 1998, and a follow-up book, Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs (2000). He is also senior editor of The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs (2003), a reference book for health professionals. Blumenthal credits Prof. Tyler as the primary motivator for him to translate, compile, edit, and publish the German Commission E Monographs, which are considered some of the most reliable information on herbs in the world.

In 2001, Blumenthal received the Natural Health Magazine’s Hall of Fame Award for “opening America’s eyes to the healing powers of herbs.” He has also received the Council for Responsible Nutrition’s annual Apple Award for his accomplishments and commitment in the dietary supplement community and a LifeTime Achievement Award from Nutrition Business Journal, on whose editorial board he has been a member since its founding in 1997. Blumenthal also replaced Dr. Tyler as English editor of Rational Phytotherapy: A Reference Guide for Physicians and Pharmacists, 5th edition (Springer, 2004), when Dr. Tyler died in 2001.

About the American Botanical Council

Founded in 1988, the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs and medicinal plants. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators; libraries; health professionals and medical institutions; government agencies; members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries; journalists; consumers; and others within over 70 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas where it publishes the quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, HerbClips (summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 220 herbs. ABC also co-produces the “Herbal Insights” segment for Healing Quest, a television series on PBS.

ABC is tax-exempt under section 501(c)(3) of the IRS Code. Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900. Website: