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By Stefan Gafner, PhD
In its September 2016 issue, popular product testing nonprofit publication Consumer Reports featured an article series about the safety and efficacy of dietary supplements. The articles heavily criticize the dietary supplement industry and its regulatory system and warn consumers about “unsafe” botanical products. ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner summarizes the articles and disputes some of Consumer Reports’s statements and conclusions regarding the safety and regulation of these supplements. Read more >>

By Hannah Bauman
Classicist and researcher Alain Touwaide recently published an updated census of Greek medical manuscripts. The 30-year project, which expanded the known canon of manuscripts by more than 50%, took Touwaide around the world to visit public and private collections of ancient texts. Within these manuscripts, centuries of careful observations of herbal medicine use have been recorded and updated, giving researchers a broader scope of the ancient practice of medicine, the enduring legacy of plants, and, possibly, the future of modern pharmaceuticals. Read more >>

By Hannah Bauman and Anne Semrau
Humans have used anise seed and its aromatic essential oil as medicine for more than 3,000 years. Mentioned in ancient medical texts from Egypt, Greece, and Rome, cultivation of anise spread quickly to warm climates around the world as well as its use as a treatment for conditions ranging from low milk supply to flatulence. Discover what anise’s volatile compounds can achieve when inhaled, decocted, or eaten whole. Read more >>

September 2016 issue

Thistle illustration

Anise seeds

HG112 Cover  
Organization News:

Did you know? HerbalGram is available in three digital formats: PDF, page-flip, and HTML. Check them out!

Featured Book
Essential Oils Book Cover  
Essential Oils: Contact Allergy and Chemical Composition was written by Anton de Groot and Erich Schmidt and published by CRC Press in 2016. The excerpt includes a selection from Chapter 5, “Peppermint Oil.”

This text provides a full review of the literature on contact allergy for 79 essential oils, along with detailed analyses of their chemical composition. For the latter, the authors not only use extensive published literature but also present a large and unique previously unpublished data set of analyses of about 6,400 essential oil samples investigated with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry by the author Erich Schmidt. Each of the oil chapters discusses nomenclature, standardization data, the source plant(s) and their uses, chemical composition, and information regarding contact allergy and allergic contact dermatitis.

In an upcoming review for HerbalGram, K. Hüsnü Can Başer, PhD, writes: “Such comprehensive information is difficult to find in a single book. Therefore, it will be a valuable resource for essential oil researchers.”

Essential Oils: Contact Allergy and Chemical Composition can be purchased at the publisher’s website. Excerpt ©2016 CRC Press. Material is reprinted with permission and may not be reproduced. All rights reserved.
Media Watch

We have tested the links of the following articles prior to publication; however, some news organizations remove stories and disable links at various times.

China Issues First White Paper on Traditional Chinese Medicine. Xinhua. December 6, 2016. In early December, China’s State Council Information Office published the country’s first official white paper on the scope, development, and value of traditional Chinese medicine in China.

Would You [Wear] Eau de Extinction? MIT Technology Review. December 5, 2016. A biotechnology company based in Boston is in the process of creating a line of perfumes and colognes that contain the scents of extinct plants.

Jeff Sessions’ Coming War on Legal Marijuana. Politico. December 5, 2016. Marijuana advocates are concerned about the impact of Jeff Sessions, the nominee for US Attorney General, on the future of legal cannabis in the United States.

The Life-Changing Magic of MushroomsThe Atlantic. December 1, 2016. Two studies published recently in The Journal of Psychopharmacology found that psilocybin, a psychedelic compound found in some mushrooms, was able to reduce the fear and anxiety of patients with cancer.

A Handful of Nuts a Day Cuts the Risk of a Wide Range of Diseases. Science Daily. December 5, 2016. A recent meta-analysis of 29 studies found that eating 20 grams of nuts per day significantly reduced the risk of developing major diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Fighting Malaria in Africa from Apartment in CharlestownBaltimore Sun. November 17, 2016. Diane Winn, a 78-year-old Maryland resident and former National Institutes of Health employee, is the founder of a company that sells an herbal malaria remedy containing the nibima plant (Cryptolepis sanguinolenta) in Ghana.

Top 2016 Legal and Regulatory Trends in Dietary Supplement IndustryNatural Products Insider. November 29, 2016. Natural Products Insider identified five landmark events from 2016 that impacted the natural products industry, including the release of the new dietary ingredient draft guidance and NBTY’s settlement with the New York attorney general.

Plant Magic: Scientists Return to Roots to Fight Superbugs. Deutsche Welle. November 29, 2016. The rise of antibiotic-resistant organisms is prompting some researchers to look to traditional plant-based remedies for potential solutions.

Community And Industry Releases

AHPA Submits Comments to FDA on Revised NDI Draft Guidance. American Herbal Products Association. December 13, 2016.

CRN’s Comments on NDI Draft Guidance Note Progress, Address Lingering Industry Concerns. Council for Responsible Nutrition. December 13, 2016.

New FDA Guidance for New Dietary Ingredients Might Encourage More Skirting of Regulations Altogether, Says NPA. Natural Products Association. December 13, 2016.

FDA Begins Posting Adverse Event Report Data for Foods and Cosmetics. US Food & Drug Administration. December 6, 2016.

ASA Files Petition with DOJ Demanding DEA Correct Misinformation About Cannabis. Americans for Safe Access. December 5, 2016.

Pennsylvania Approves Naturopathic Licensure. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicines & Health Sciences. November 15, 2016.

Words from President Juan Manuel Santos at the Launch Event in Colombia of the "Amazonian Travels of Richard Evans Schultes.” The Amazon Conservation Team. November 11, 2016.


The Mexican Healthy Products Summit.
January 27-29, 2017. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Integrative Healthcare Symposium Annual Conference.
February 23-25, 2017. New York, New York.

Florida Herbal Conference.
February 24-26, 2017. Lake Wales, Florida.

International Symposium on Advances in Lamiaceae Science.
April 26-29, 2017. Antalya, Turkey.

5th International Phytocosmetics and Phytotherapy Congress.
May 15-17, 2017. Patras, Greece.

Preservation Matters in the History of Herbal Medicine.
June 7, 2017. Birmingham, UK.

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

Herbal IQ

This bitter herb was used for so many conditions, its binomial name means “to set free.” Do you know what it is? Find out here!