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By ABC Staff
On September 9, the New York Attorney General's (NY AG's) office sent cease-and-desist letters to 13 natural products companies, claiming that their devil's claw-containing supplements did not match the labeled herbal material. However, per internationally recognized pharmacopoeias and other authorities, the allegedly "mislabeled" herb actually is one of the two species of devil's claw that are used interchangeably.
 Read more>>

By Connor Yearsley
The Matsés people of Peru and Brazil have compiled a detailed encyclopedia of their tribe’s traditional knowledge, including knowledge of herbal medicine. The effort was undertaken by the remaining shamans of the tribe to prevent further cultural erosion and help maintain the tribe’s self-sufficiency. The book is believed to be the first of its kind and scope and was published exclusively in the native language of the Matsés to help prevent biopiracy, an issue the tribe has faced in the pastRead more>>

By Connor Yearsley
The European Medicines Agency (EMA) will now systematically release consumer-friendly summaries of the findings of its Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) on its website. The summaries will provide information on the safety and efficacy of all newly assessed herbal medicines as well as for previously assessed medicines. Read more>>

By Hannah Bauman and Ashley Schmidt
Spiny on the outside but sweet on the inside, the fruit and pads of the prickly pear cactus hide an interesting history of medicinal use. Though promising modern research concentrates on the pad’s glucose-regulating abilities, the indigenous peoples of Mexico and the southwestern United States utilized the plant for conditions ranging from rabies to hangovers. Read more>>

By Connor Yearsley
Don Brown is a naturopathic expert who has served on ABC’s Advisory Board since the board was first established in 1996. He reflects on his career and personal life. This profile is the first in a series of profiles on ABC’s Advisory Board members. One profile will be released each month in HerbalEGram and then each quarter’s profiles will be aggregated in HerbalGramRead more>>

Donald Brown, ND

Featured Book

Medicinal Plants in Australia, Volume 4: An Antipodean Apothecary was written by Cheryll J. Williams and published by Rosenberg Publishing in 2013. The excerpt includes the title page, table of contents, foreword by Brendan Lepschi, and a section of Chapter 4, “New Roles for Old Remedies.”

The biodiversity of the Australian continent includes a vast array of economically and medicinally beneficial plant life. The combination of Aboriginal knowledge and European colonial practices creates a large breadth and depth of knowledge, and author Cheryll Williams draws details and information from ethnographic, historical, pharmaceutical, and traditional sources to produce a comprehensive reference work. This text joins the first three volumes in the series — Bush PharmacyGums, Resins, Tannin and Essential Oils; and Plants, Potions and Poisons — exploring in depth the history and future of herbal medicines and natural products native or naturalized in Australia. The pages are filled with color photography, extensive scientific research, and information on folk traditions for the medical applications of flowering plants.

 “Cheryll’s careful research and collation of this otherwise scattered information makes for authoritative and entertaining reading,” wrote Brendan Lepschi, curator of the Australian National Herbarium. “Medicinal Plants in Australia is a work that sits prominently in the libraries of both the Australian National Herbarium and the Australian National Botanic Gardens…. [N]o doubt it has also found a place in many other libraries in Australia and overseas….”

Medicinal Plants in Australia, Volume 4, is available from the distributor, International Specialized Book Services, as well as other online retailers. For more information, please contact

Media Watch

New York Attorney General Targets Devil’s Claw Manufacturers. Associated Press. September 9, 2015. The New York Attorney General has ordered 13 manufacturers to stop selling devil’s claw products, a relatively obscure herbal remedy for arthritis. He claims the products are mislabeled, even though the two species in question have historically been used interchangeably.

How the ‘Heat’ Compound from Chili Peppers Could Help Kill Cancer Cells. EurekAlert! September 9, 2015. New understanding of how capsaicin, the compound responsible for the heat of chili peppers, attacks cancer cells may allow for the development of new medicines.

1,000 Years Ago, Caffeinated Drinks Had Native Americans Buzzing. NPR. September 8, 2015. A study of pottery samples from the American Southwest has proven that peoples in the region made drinks from the caffeinated yaupon holly 1,000 years ago, providing new insights on trade and culture in the area.

Scientists Grow High-Quality Graphene from Tea Tree Extract. August 21, 2015. Using tea tree oil, scientists have discovered a fast, environmentally friendly method of producing high-quality graphene, which is a strong, thin layer of pure carbon that has technological applications.

Alongside a Doctor’s Care, a Dose of Traditional Healing. New York Times. August 19, 2015. Many non-indigenous Chileans are turning to the traditional healers of the Mapuche, the country’s largest indigenous group, for health care solutions that Western medicine has been unable to provide them.

Feds Limit Research on Marijuana for Medical Use. USA Today. August 18, 2015. A recent analysis found that the National Institutes of Health spent the vast majority of its marijuana research funding on studies of abuse and addiction, not the potential benefits of the plant.

Coffee May Lower Risk of Colon Cancer Recurrence, Study Finds. Chicago Tribune. August 18, 2015. A recent study of 950 patients with advanced colon cancer found a correlation between regular coffee consumption and a reduced risk for cancer recurrence or death from the disease.

This Sweet-Smelling Herb Can Ward Away MosquitoesSmithsonian. August 17, 2015. Scientists have identified two mosquito-repelling chemicals found in sweetgrass, providing a healthier and more aromatic alternative to other repellents.

Community And Industry Releases

October 5-9: SupplySide West. Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.

October 9-10: Integrative Healthcare Symposium - Focus on: The Microbiome. Hollywood, Florida, USA.

September 16-19: Natural Expo East - Education & Events. Baltimore, Maryland, USA.

October 15-19: Annual AHG Symposium. Granby, Colorado, USA.

December 4-7: Natural Products Conference. Budapest, Hungary.

More event listings can be found on ABC's website.

Herbal IQ

Do you know the origin of the word Harpagophytum (the genus to which devil's claw belongs)? Find out here!