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James A. Duke, PhD


Remembering ABC Co-Founder James Alan Duke: 1929-2017

The American Botanical Council pays tribute to preeminent ethnobotanist and herbal medicine advocate James A. Duke, PhD. Duke was truly a “renaissance man,” and introduced countless people to the healing power of herbs through his many publications, bluegrass music, and Green Farmacy Garden. For almost 30 years, Duke worked for the US Department of Agriculture as an economic botanist, traveling around the world from Panama to China documenting indigenous and traditional uses for medicinal plants. However, he was happiest as “the barefoot doctor” in the Amazon rainforest. Read more >>



Phoenix dactylifera
©Hans Hillewaert


Food as Medicine: Date (Phoenix dactylifera, Arecaceae)

By Hannah Bauman and Addie Abohosh
The date palm is one of the oldest cultivated fruit trees and has a long history of use as a food and medicine in northern Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. The fruit is high in fiber, polyphenolic compounds, and immune-supporting beta-glucans. However, many parts of the date palm, including the leaf, pit, and pollen, have been investigated for their efficacy against conditions such as diabetes, tumor growth, and infertility. Read more >>




Status Update: Publications of the Botanical Adulterants Program

By Stefan Gafner, PhD
Since its inception in 2011, the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program has released 37 publications related to the accidental and/or intentional adulteration of botanical materials in trade. This interactive slideshow summarizes the publications produced so far: 12 Botanical Adulterants Bulletins, nine HerbalGram articles, four Laboratory Guidance Documents, and 12 “Botanical Adulterants Monitor” newsletters. Read more >>


Herb Profile:
Witch Hazel

Botanical Adulterants Program News:

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

Featured Book
Gods, Wasps, and Stranglers cover  
Gods, Wasps, and Stranglers: The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees was written by Mike Shanahan and published in 2016 by Chelsea Green Publishing. The excerpt includes the title page, table of contents, and Chapter One, “Snakes and Ladders & Tantalising Figs.”

Ecologist Mike Shanahan, PhD, examines the history, mythology, ethnobotany, and ecology of the genus Ficus. The fig tree exemplifies humanity’s relationship with nature, and the stories of the past may provide keys to the future: restoring rainforest, halting the loss of endangered species, and even limiting climate change. No aspect of the fig tree, from the wasps that pollinate them to the birds and mammals that feed on the fruit, is too small for Shanahan to explore in this text (published as Ladders to Heaven: How Fig Trees Shaped Our History, Fed Our Imaginations, and Can Enrich Our Future [Unbound, 2016] in the United Kingdom).

This excerpt is adapted from Mike Shanahan’s book Gods, Wasps and Stranglers: The Secret History and Redemptive Future of Fig Trees (Chelsea Green, ©2016) and is printed with permission from the publisher.
Media Watch

Chamomile Extract May Improve Sleep Among the Elderly: RCT. NutraIngredients-USA. December 11, 2017. A recent study found that daily supplementation with a chamomile extract significantly improved the quality of sleep in elderly individuals.

WHO Report Finds No Public Health Risks or Abuse Potential for CBD. Forbes. December 11, 2017. A preliminary report published by the World Health Organization in November found “no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health-related problems associated with [its use].”

Nutritional Outlook’s 2017 Best of the Industry, Industry Leader: American Herbal Products AssociationNutritional Outlook. December 11, 2017. Nutritional Outlook has named the American Herbal Products Association, which has produced numerous assessment tools, guidance documents, and white papers, as the “Industry Leader” for 2017.

Supplements Claiming to Ease Opioid Addiction Come Under ScrutinyThe New York Times. December 8, 2017. The Center for Science in the Public Interest has urged the US Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to take action against supplement companies that make unproven claims related to opioid addiction.

China to Roll Back Regulations for Traditional Medicine Despite Safety ConcernsNature News. November 29, 2017. Under draft regulations released in October, human safety and efficacy trials may not be required for certain traditional medicines to enter the market in China.

Nutritional Psychiatry: Emerging Evidence and Expert Interview. Psychiatry Advisor. November 28, 2017. A recent literature review supports the idea that diet and nutrition may play a significant role in mental health.

As Droughts Lengthen, Zimbabwe’s Medicinal Plants Disappear. Thomson Reuters Foundation News. November 27, 2017. An extended drought in Zimbabwe is threatening the supply of local medicinal plants, which inhabitants rely on for both food and medicine.

The Future of Functional IngredientsNatural Products INSIDER. November 20, 2017. Natural Products INSIDER predicts that certain botanicals, including lavender, elderflower, and ashwagandha, will see increased popularity in the coming year.

Community And Industry Releases

Crackdown Urged on Supplements Marketed as Opioid Withdrawal Aids. Center for Science in the Public Interest. December 8, 2017.

NUNM Food as Medicine Institute Partners with Saint Luke’s Hospital. National University of Natural Medicine. December 8, 2017.

Streamlining Regulations Is Necessary to Keep Consumers Safe as Americans’ Demand for Natural Products Booms. Natural Products Association. December 7, 2017.

NPA Highlights New Book in Comments to FDA on List of Pre-DSHEA Dietary Ingredients. Natural Products Association. December 7, 2017.

CRN Foundation Pledges Additional Funding to NAD Dietary Supplement Advertising Review Program through 2020. Council for Responsible Nutrition. December 6, 2017.

AHPA Submits Comments on Pre-DSHEA Dietary Ingredient List. American Herbal Products Association. December 5, 2017.

NSF International Consulting Services Bring Science-Based Methodologies to Sustainability Practices. NSF International. November 29, 2017.

The Most Common FDA cGMP Inspection Observations of 2016-17. American Herbal Products Association. November 28, 2017.

Natural Products Center to Collaborate with Beijing Hospital. University of Mississippi. November 28, 2017.

Ministry of Health and Pharmaceutical Companies Collaborate on Developing Non-timber Forest Product Utilization Policies. TRAFFIC. November 27, 2017.

Green Tea Extract-Containing Natural Health Products - Rare Risk of Serious Liver Injury. Health Canada. November 15, 2017.

Bastyr and AOMA Discontinue Plans for Affiliation. Bastyr University. November 1, 2017.


1st International Symposium on Herbal Medicine. January 18, 2018. Sarawak, Malaysia.

The Mexican Healthy Products Summit. January 26-28, 2018. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

15th Annual Natural Supplements – Scripps. February 8-11, 2018. San Diego, California.

Integrative Healthcare Symposium Annual Conference. February 22-24, 2018. New York, New York.

Natural Products Expo West. March 7-11, 2018. Anaheim, California.

Permaculture Design Course and the Herbalist’s Path. March 12 – April 4, 2018. Costa Rica.

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

Herbal IQ

When this winter plant is full grown, its leaf extract can help support respiratory health in conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and cough. Do you know what it is? Learn more here!