AUSTIN, Texas (March 2, 2016) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) is pleased to announce the endorsement of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program by two leading interdisciplinary pharmacy programs: the Center for Natural Products Technologies (CENAPT) at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) School of Pharmacy and the Biodiversity and Medicines research cluster at the University College London (UCL) School of Pharmacy in the United Kingdom.
The Botanical Adulterants Program is a coalition of three nonprofit groups: ABC, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR). More than 170 US and international parties have supported the Program, which educates and provides advice about the various challenges related to adulterated herbs, botanical extracts, and other botanical ingredients in commerce. These parties include nonprofit organizations, analytical laboratories, professional scientists, integrative health care practitioners, natural products industry members, and others.
The CENAPT is an interdisciplinary botanical pharmacognosy research program funded by the US National Institutes of Health’s (NIH’s) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) and National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH). According to its website, the center aims to “provide access to advanced technologies and resources that can help the [natural products] research communities in finding solutions, overcoming methodological obstacles, and connecting scientists … with state-of-the-art methodologies.”
CENAPT Director Guido Pauli, PhD, and Chun-Tao Che, PhD, the Norman R. Farnsworth Professor of Pharmacognosy at UIC, expressed their support for the Program in a letter to ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “We look forward to working with you and strengthening our existing collaborative relationship by providing expertise to the BAP program,” they wrote. “Our CENAPT and the collaborating laboratories in our College are in a strong position to provide orthogonal [independent] information and innovative perspectives on the botanical adulteration topic.”
The UCL School of Pharmacy’s Biodiversity and Medicines cluster, also an interdisciplinary research program, focuses on the study of natural products and analytical method development. Among its primary goals, the group investigates the quality and safety of herbal medicines, historical uses of medicinal plants, disease mechanisms, and new anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-infective compounds.
“Biodiversity and Medicines brings together experts in biological pharmacy, including medicinal biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, natural product research, metabolomics, pharmacognosy, ethnopharmacology, and biomimetic synthesis,” wrote Michael Heinrich, PhD, professor of pharmacognosy and head of Biodiversity and Medicines. “I am happy to let you know that the group has agreed to endorse the BAP.”
“These two academic research groups are among the leading medicinal plant research centers in the world,” said Blumenthal. “We are profoundly grateful for their recognition of the significance of our Program, and their willingness to collaborate with us.”
ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, added: “Much of what we know about herbal dietary supplement adulteration in the marketplace comes from laboratory investigations initiated by academia. Both UIC and UCL have established themselves as pioneers in the characterization of botanical materials by applying cutting-edge analytical technologies to measure chemical profiles of herbal extracts, thus providing enhanced tools to detect adulteration. Therefore, we are very honored by their endorsement of and participation in our program.”
In addition to their support of the Botanical Adulterants Program, Pauli, Che, and Heinrich are also members of the ABC Advisory Board.
The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program has published extensively peer-reviewed and referenced articles on the history of adulteration, adulteration of the herbs black cohosh (Actaea racemosa) and skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora), and adulteration of bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) fruit extract and so-called “grapefruit (Citrus × paradisi) seed extract.” These open-access articles are available on the Program’s webpage.
The Program also publishes a quarterly newsletter, the Botanical Adulterants Monitor, which highlights new scientific publications related to botanical authenticity and analysis to detect possible adulteration, recent regulatory actions, and Program news. Issue #6 of the Monitor was released in January 2016.
In November 2015, the Botanical Adulterants Program published its third Laboratory Guidance Document (LGD) on black cohosh. The purpose of this ongoing series is to help industry and third-party analytical laboratories determine the most effective analytical methods for detecting adulteration and authenticating botanical raw materials and extracts. The first two LGDs were on skullcap and bilberry extract, respectively.
Additional publications from the Program, including a new series of Botanical Adulterants Bulletins, are scheduled for release in the coming weeks and months.
Companies, organizations, foundations, and/or individuals interested in supporting this Program are invited to contact Denise Meikel, ABC Development Director, at (512) 926-4900, ext. 120, or by email.