By Hannah Bauman and Laura Baker
Some consider pumpkin spice lattes to be fall’s iconic drink, but the majority of commercial mixes contain no actual pumpkin. Read on to find out what these latte lovers might be missing: In addition to being an excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium, pumpkin has been used as a "functional food" and medicine in traditional medical practices from Central America to Eastern Europe. Currently, modern research has shown promising results for the use of pumpkin seed oil for a variety of different conditions. Read more>>
By Jeff Chilton
HerbalEGram guest contributor Jeff Chilton discusses the growing market for medicinal mushrooms and other fungal organisms for nutritional supplements, cosmetics, and health foods. As the demand for these materials increases, the importance of proper labeling increases as well, and companies must ensure that consumers receive the most accurate information and potent products to help them take control of their health. Read more>>
By Mark Blumenthal
In May and July 2015, the Chinese government released a number of documents indicating its actions against pharmaceutical companies for allegedly producing or reselling adulterated, mislabeled, or otherwise improperly produced ginkgo extracts. The results of several surprise inspections revealed that companies in China may be falsifying reports and knowingly introducing substandard material into the supply chain, though the effects of these actions on the quality of products outside the country remains unclear. Read more>>
By Michael Smith, ND
Professor and dean for the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto, Heather Boon, PhD, was recently awarded the 2015 Dr. Rogers Prize for her role in the development of policy and regulation related to natural health products and complementary medicine in Canada, as well as her tireless, robust research in the field. The $250,000 prize is awarded every two years in honor of the late Roger Hayward Rogers, MD, a Canadian complementary and alternative medicine pioneer. Read more>>
By Stefan Gafner, PhD
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman took further action against the dietary supplement industry in September 2015 when he issued cease-and-desist letters to 13 companies, claiming that their devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) supplements were adulterated or mislabeled due to the presence of Harpagophytum zeyheri. Devil’s claw, a relatively obscure botanical in the United States, has traditionally been defined to include both H. procumbens and H. zeyheri in many international pharmacopeias; however, the regulatory issue in the US partially stems from the publication of Herbs of Commerce, 2nd edition, which lists only H. procumbens. Read more>>
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Fathers of Botany: The Discovery of Chinese Plants by European Missionaries was written by Jane Kilpatrick and published by the University of Chicago Press and Kew Publishing, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew in 2014. The excerpt includes the title page, table of contents, introduction, and Chapter 2, “The Open Door.”
Following the Opium Wars of the early-to-mid 19th century, the presence of Europeans in China increased, giving unprecedented access to the interior of the country. While adventurers, traders, and foreign envoys took advantage of the destruction of Chinese isolationism, another population brought their observational skills and botanical knowledge: missionaries.
Kilpatrick tells the stories of four noted missionaries who worked and traveled extensively in China, taking meticulous notes and drawings of the “new” species they encountered and learning of their uses in the communities where they lived. Though the history is not always pleasant — Kilpatrick notes that she chose to refrain from “comments on the nature of their evangelical work or on the deleterious effect their activities had on Western relations with China” — the work these missionaries carried out laid the groundwork for other, less self-effacing plant hunters to build upon, and the plant trade that resulted changed the appearance of European gardens and the repertoire of their botanists and taxonomists. The text is in full color, and contains images of primary documents and photographs of the Chinese flora.
Fathers of Botany is available from the publisher’s website and other online retailers.
Reprinted with permission. © 2014 by The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; text by Jane Kilpatrick; photographs by Jane Kilpatrick, unless otherwise stated; and illustrations by the Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Garden, Kew, unless otherwise stated. All rights reserved.
Beetroot Juice Can Battle Altitude Sickness: Himalayan Study. NutraIngredients-USA. October 15, 2015. Consumption of nitrate-rich beetroot juice may restore reduced blood vessel function in healthy subjects at altitude, researchers have said.
Dietary Supplements Lead to 20,000 E.R. Visits Yearly, Study Finds. New York Times. October 14, 2015. A recent study found that supplement-related complications, including severe allergic reactions, heart trouble, nausea, and vomiting, result in more than 20,000 emergency room visits each year.
Why We Should All Care About The Amazon's Disappearing Tribes. Huffington Post. October 14, 2015. As researcher Mark Plotkin notes, the Amazon region contains 80,000 species of plants, and indigenous tribes have generations of knowledge about their potential medicinal uses.
Could a Mushroom Save the Honeybee? NPR. October 9, 2015. As honeybees face unprecedented population decline, new research suggests that five species of wood-rotting fungi can increase bees’ immune responses and lifespans.
Is the 2015 Nobel Prize a Turning Point for Traditional Chinese Medicine? The Conversation. October 6, 2015. Compounds long known to be effective by practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine are now being isolated in modern labs.
Ancient Beer Recipes Lead to Modern Health Remedies. Newsweek. September 26, 2015. Like bitters, beer was once considered a medicinal drink and delivery system for herbal remedies.
'Super' Berry May Help Boost Memory, Heart Health. Fox News. September 24, 2015. Medicine Hunter Chris Kilham investigates the US cultivation of schisandra, a traditional Chinese adaptogenic herb.
Miracle Healers: Despite Scandals and Scepticism, America’s Supplement Industry Looks Healthy. The Economist. September 19, 2015. In spite of fears over safety and purity, the supplement market continues to flourish in the United States.
Practice of Pharmacognosy Leads to Three New Nobel Prize Winners. American Society of Pharmacognosy. October 9, 2015.
Context Is Key to Analyzing Results of New Study on Dietary Supplements in New England Journal of Medicine, Says CRN. Council for Responsible Nutrition. October 14, 2015.
Trudeau Foundation Award Supports Nancy Turner’s Lifelong Study of Traditional Plant Use. University of Victoria. October 1, 2015.
Colorado: Marijuana Tax Revenue Surpasses That For Alcohol. NORML. September 24, 2015.
$10M in Federal Grants to Study Botanicals for Human Health. UIC College of Pharmacy. September 10, 2015.
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