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ABC Launches Second Online Herbal Information Course

In October 2005, ABC launched Course Two of its Herbal Information Course. This online training and certification program is available at The new course is designed for retailers of dietary supplements, multi-level marketing distributors, anyone who sells herbal products, and those who advise patients. Course Two expands upon the knowledge gained in Course One, which provides an overview of key issues and concepts in the field of herbal medicine. Course Two also serves as a recertification for those who have already taken Course One. (Completion of Course One is the prerequisite for taking Course Two.)

Course Two contains three modules and takes approximately six hours to complete. Upon completion of all three modules in Course Two, the participant receives a new certificate identifying him or her as an Herbal Information Specialist (HIS) for another year. A window decal stating that an ABC-certified Herbal Information Specialist is on staff may also be requested. Retail operations that participate in the online course for its employees may also request a formatted press release, which can be used to inform the local community that qualified providers of credible information on medicinal herbs are available on premises. Health practitioners can use the program as an additional certification to their own professional training and continuing education.

"In the current climate of consumers taking more responsibility for their own health, it is imperative that those who discuss herbs as part of their work be knowledgeable when responding to their customers and patients regarding science-based information on the herbs that are currently being sold in the US market," said Mark Blumenthal, ABC Founder and Executive Director. "These courses are designed to help fill that need and help businesses establish credibility, build consumer confidence in these products, and help ensure that they will be used responsibly." The course also clarifies the limitations that should be used when speaking about herbs in a non-clinical environment.

Part One of Course Two provides more in-depth information than Course One regarding safety, standardization, and market trends, as well as the legal and regulatory issues that affect consumers and the herbal products industry. Part Two of Course Two presents additional information on the 29 herbs covered in Course One, as well as information on Elder Berry, which was not covered in Course One. Part Three of Course Two provides safety information on many of the herbs that were addressed in Course One, plus some additional herbs.

Upon completion of Course Two, participants will be able to:

• Evaluate safety information on specific herbs in order to articulate what is stated in the scientific and clinical literature.

• Appreciate the history of the regulation of dietary supplements, FDA enforcement, consumer protection, and the importance of good manufacturing practices (GMPs).

• Integrate current clinical research on specific herbs into conversations with customers/clients so they can be better informed on what is stated in the scientific and medical literature.

Herbal Information Courses are $69.95 each and bulk discounts are available. Participants who wish to pay by credit card may register online for either course at To pay by check or money order or for bulk discounts, contact Janet McCombs at 800-452-6854. ABC sponsor members who want to purchase bulk quantities of the course should contact Wayne Silverman, PhD, at 800-373-7105 or the Development Department.

The online course is provided by ABC in conjunction with the National Training Institute (NTI), a division of Virgo Publishing. NTI develops and provides online training and certification programs in a variety of industries. Virgo Publishing produces the trade magazines HSR: Health Supplement Retailer and Natural Products Industry Insider, as well as the SupplySide shows and the Focus on the Future trade shows and conferences.

—Gayle Engels