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Costa Rica hibiscus

Pills containing Hibiscus spp. and other botanicals were found aboard an ancient Roman shipwreck.

New research using DNA technology has found that pills aboard an ancient Roman shipwreck contain traces of several common vegetables, as well as the herbs yarrow and hibiscus. A story in this issue of HerbalEGram discusses the research, its findings, and significance.  

An additional article in this issue details the World Health Organization's current work on creating an International Classification of Traditional Medicine—a new development that has the potential to bring greater and more widespread respect to traditional medicine systems around the world. 

The American Botanical Council has many interesting and educational events planned for 2011. Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal will be speaking at Natural Products Expo West, held from March 10-13, and ABC will also have a booth at the trade show in space 1417. Looking ahead to the fall, ABC will hold its annual "Botanical Medicine from the Amazon and Machu Picchu" trip with hosts Steven Foster and Amanda McQuade Crawford from October 9-19.


The Staff of the American Botanical Council


HerbalGram 88 includes an overview of HG88 covermany botanical essential oils' potential to treat drug-resistant bacterial infections. The issue also features a rundown on the growing market for Fair Trade botanicals and organizations that provide certification. Additionally, HerbalGram 88 provides a detailed report on the burgeoning community supported herbal medicine movement, as well as a profile of 17th US poet laureate W.S. Merwin and his Hawaiian palm conservancy.

Featured Book

Modern Day Arks
January's selected book excerpt comes from Botanic Gardens: Modern-Day Arks, written by Sara Oldfield and published in 2010 by The MIT Press. Its chapters feature 200 large, full color, and often full-page photographs of botanic gardens in locations around the world. This excerpt includes the book's title page, table of contents, foreword, and chapter on the Chicago Botanic Garden. All are available here.

©2011 The MIT Press.

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.

Tribal memory coming alive in new healing garden. Kansas City Star. 12-29-10. A project based on information passed down from a tribal elder before her death aims to help remaining tribe members relearn their traditional herbal customs.

Some soy supplements OK for long-term use. Reuters. 12-28-10. Researchers from the University of California have found that a specific soy isoflavone supplement does not increase breast cancer risks in women when consumed over a 2-year period.

US to back indigenous rights declaration. 12-23-10. President Obama recently announced that he would support a UN declaration that gives indigenous groups the right to prior and informed consent, and to sovereignty, territory, and respect for traditional knowledge.

Garlic may lower chances of hip arthritis. Better Health Research. 12-17-10. A study of 1,000 female twin participants shows that those who ate more garlic, leeks, shallots, and onions had healthier joints.

Better tasting ginseng in energy drinks. EmaxHealth. 12-7-10. Researchers at the University of Illinois have found that adding gamma-cyclodextrins to the levels of ginseng in energy drinks was most successful at reducing its bitterness.

Study says some herbs could help fight HIV. Hindustan Times. 12-7-10. Laboratory tests on 3 traditional Indian herbs have shown that all acted stronger against an enzyme found in the Human Immuno-deficiency Virus than did the leading drug used in HIV treatment.

Chinese medicine increasingly recognized in US. 12-4-10. Traditional Chinese Medicine is increasingly recognized in the United States, thanks in part to some of its aspects being defined as dietary supplements and recent clinical trials on herbal pills.

Coca leaves chewed earlier than thought. BBC News. 12-2-10. Recent archaeological evidence shows that Peruvian societies chewed coca leaves up to 8,000 years ago, which is 3,000 years earlier than originally estimated.

Community/Industry News

March 4-6: Integrative Healthcare Symposium. New York, NY.

March 15-17: 8th International Conference "Functional Foods for Chronic Diseases: Science and Practice." Las Vegas, NV.

October 9-19: Botanical Medicine from the Amazon and Machu Picchu. Peru.

More event listings are available here.

Recent News

AT book research

Researcher Alain Touwaide studying an ancient herbal manuscript in order to identify Classical uses of plant medicines. Photo©2011 Emanuela Appetiti.

Plant DNA Found in Medicines from Ancient Roman Shipwreck. DNA analyses of more than 2,000 year-old tablets support existing evidence that ancient Romans used several common vegetables and herbs as medicine.

WHO Developing New Tradtional Medicine Classification. With the goal of furthering the globalization and integration of traditional medicine, WHO's project will soon join the organization's important International Family of Classifications.

ABC Clarifies Echinacea Trial Published in Annals of Internal Medicine. ABC's Mark Blumenthal discusses this trial with the major news outlets Associated Press and Bloomberg Business News, and ABC members also contribute their perspectives.