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Olivia Newton-John Foundation to Fund Research on Herbal Therapies for Cancer
By Connor Yearsley

In October 2020, Olivia Newton-John and her husband, herbalist John Easterling, launched the Olivia Newton-John Foundation to fund research on plant-based therapies to treat cancer and improve quality of life in people with cancer. Newton-John, who co-starred in the 1978 film Grease, has had cancer three times since 1992 and believes herbs have helped her greatly. She and Easterling now want to help find "kinder" treatments for cancer. Read more >>



20 volumes of Gottlieg Tobias Wilhelm's "Conversations on Natural History", 1834

The revised edition of Gottlieg Tobias Wilhelm’s (1758-1811) Unterhaltungen aus der Naturgeschichte (Conversations on Natural History) in 20 volumes (Augsbourg, 1834).


Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions Seeks New Home for Its Research Collection
By Hannah Bauman

The research collection Medicina Antiqua contains cross-disciplinary interests that primarily covers information related to the therapeutic use of plants in the ancient Mediterranean world. Consisting of primary sources, catalogues of manuscripts, botanical illustrations, floras, and more, the collection’s curators, Alain Touwaide, PhD, and Emanuela Appetiti, now seek an institution or individual interested in acquiring the collection for the benefit of future generations of scientists and researchers. Read more >>



Book cover of Natural Woman


Book Review: Natural Woman: Herbal Remedies for Radiant Health at Every Age and Stage of Life
By James Lake, MD

Leslie Korn, PhD, MPH, provides formulae and advice for readers on issues ranging from basic wellness to support for specialized conditions including menstruation and menopause. Accessible but thorough, the text includes background information on traditional herbal medicine, methods for growing and processing herbs, and recipes for a wide variety of ailments and conditions. Author and integrative health care expert James Lake describes the value of Natural Woman in detail, and concludes that Korn’s work is a worthy addition to the canon of complementary and alternative medicine literature. Read more >>


Sustainable Herbs Program News:

Are All Organic Herbs Equal? March 24, 2021.

HerbalGram Issue 129 cover  

Ethnobotany of Wine

ABC News:
Evolution of the ABC Website

Research Review:
Korean Ginseng and Cognitive Function

In Memoriam:
Walter H. Lewis: 1930–2020

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

Featured Book
The Business of Botanicals  

The Business of Botanicals: Exploring the Healing Promise of Plant Medicines in a Global Industry was written by Ann Armbrecht, PhD, and was published by Chelsea Green Publishing in 2021. The excerpt is a selection from Chapter 4, “Complex Standards for a Complex Industry.”

Armbrecht first explored the tension between plant healing traditions and the modern herb trade in her documentary Numen, followed by her landmark Sustainable Herbs Project. Now, as the director of the Sustainable Herbs Program, she recounts her experiences traveling the world and following the formulation of herbal products “from seed to shelf” in The Business of Botanicals. With the goal of connecting consumers with the products on store shelves, Armbrecht reveals the inner workings of a complex industry and raises questions about ethical standards and ecological issues that may imperil the plants and those who harvest them.

The Business of Botanicals can be purchased from the publisher. All material ©2021 Chelsea Green Publishing. This material is reprinted with permission from the publisher and may not be used for any other purpose.

Media Watch

Uniform Drying Time for Goldenseal to Enhance Medicinal Qualities of Forest Herb. ScienceDaily. March 22, 2021. Developing a standardized drying protocol for goldenseal could lead to more predictable health applications and outcomes by preserving the alkaloids found in the plant.

One Brain, Multiple Concerns: The Diversity of the Cognitive Health Category. Nutritional Outlook. March 19, 2021. Once focused on age-related concerns, the cognitive health space has expanded and now encompasses multiple categories including mood, stress reduction, focus, and energy.

Black Seed Oil May Influence Immune Response. Natural Products Insider March 18, 2021. Black seed oil may help balance inflammatory response, particularly during “cytokine storms,” because of thymoquinone, a bioactive compound with anti-inflammatory actions.

Getting Serious About Sleep Ingredients: Science Experts Share Their Picks for the Most Scientifically Credible Sleep Ingredients. Nutritional Outlook. March 17, 2021. Dietary supplements can help mitigate some sleep issues, and some experts see potential in natural ingredients such as CBD and ashwagandha.

Rooted in St. Louis: The Ethnobotanical Work of Professor Memory Elvin-Lewis. Student Life. March 15, 2021. Washington University celebrates the work of Professor Emerita Memory Elvin-Lewis, whose ethnobotanical studies in Peru explored natural dentistry, medical botany, and the oral transmission of traditional knowledge.

Traditional Healers Are Preserving Their Knowledge, and With It, the Biodiversity of Brazil’s Savanna. MongaBay. March 12, 2021. A network of traditional healers is at the forefront of finding ways to protect, sustainably manage, and document the plants in the Brazilian savanna, which contains almost a third of the country’s biodiversity and is currently threatened by agriculture and development.

Microwave Processing Isolates Red Ginseng Compounds that Suppress Lung Cancer Metastasis. Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News. March 5, 2021. A microwave processing method for ginseng successfully increased trace amounts of Rk1 and Rg5 ginsenosides, which effectively inhibit the metastasis of lung cancer.

Graveyards Are Surprising Hotspots for Biodiversity. Scientific American. February 24, 2021. Largely left at peace, graveyards, even small ones, allow for nature to take its course in a way that preserves the habitat of native plants.

HerbalMediaWatch-Small.jpg Read more Herbal MediaWatch headlines here.

Community and Industry Releases

New Mexico: Governor to Sign Adult-Use Legalization Law. NORML. April 1, 2021.

New York: Governor Signs Adult-Use Legalization Measure into Law. NORML. April 1, 2021.

Nine Potentially Harmful Stimulants Found in Weight Loss and Sports Supplements Listing Deterenol as Ingredient. NSF International. March 2021.

2011–2017 Tonnage Survey of Select North American Wild-Harvested Plants. American Herbal Products Association (AHPA). March 30, 2021.

NUNM to Launch First-Year Online Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine Program. National University of Natural Medicine. March 29, 2021.

New Analysis Mischaracterizes Sports Nutrition and Weight Management Supplements. Council for Responsible Nutrition. March 23, 2021.

AHPA Welcomes New Board Trustees and Officers. AHPA. March 22, 2021.

Announcing the 15th International Herb Symposium. United Plant Savers (UpS). March 22, 2021.

FDA Warns Companies Illegally Selling Over-the-Counter CBD Products for Pain Relief. US Food & Drug Administration. March 22, 2021.

Study: Cannabis Use Correlated with Increased Exercise. NORML. March 18, 2021.

Survey: People Most Likely to Report Using CBD Products to Mitigate Anxiety, Improve Sleep. NORML. March 18, 2021.

CSPI Celebrates 50 Years as America’s Food and Health Watchdog. Center for Science in the Public Interest. March 17, 2021.

Americans for Safe Access Mobilizes Advocates to Urge VA Secretary to Allow VA Doctors to Recommend Cannabis. Americans for Safe Access. March 16, 2021.

California Prepares New Regulations for Largest CBD Market in US. Natural Products Association. March 16, 2021.

Goldenseal Summit 2020 — Full Replay. UpS. March 10, 2021.

Featured Event
HerbDay Virtual

HerbDay. Online. May 1, 2021. The HerbDay Coalition is putting together a virtual event for 2021. Watch the HerbDay website and the Official HerbDay Facebook page for more information.


Webinar: Ethical Practice and Indigenous Knowledge. Online. May 6, 2021.

Medicines from the Earth Symposium. Online. June 4-7, 2021.

SupplySide East. Secaucus, New Jersey. August 24-25, 2021.

ISEO 2021 51st International Symposium on Essential Oils. Nicosia, Northern Cyprus. August 29 – September 1, 2021.

Natural Products Expo East. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. September 22-25, 2021.

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

Herbal IQ

The International Herb Association’s Herb of the Year 2021 may look like a common garnish, but there’s more than meets the eye — ancient Greek physicians sang its praises and 19th- and 20th-century pharmacopeias listed it as a diuretic and laxative. What’s lurking on your plate? Check your answer here!