The American Botanical Council held its 6th Annual ABCelebration ceremony on March 10, 2011, in Anaheim, CA. As in prevous years, ABC’s event took place in conjunction with the Natural Products Expo West trade show and Nutracon scientific conference.
In attendance were over 250 guests representing ABC’s Sponsor Members and other supporters. In addition to the awards detailed below, Drake Sadler, co-founder and chairman of the Board of Traditional Medicinals, provided an eloquent analogy of the important role that ABC—and its Founder/Executive Director, Mark Blumenthal—has played and continues to play in the evolution of the natural products community.
The sponsors for the 6th Annual American Botanical Council Celebration and Awards Ceremony were the following companies and organizations: the law firm of Amin Talati, Alkemists Pharmaceuticals, ChromaDex, EuroPharma, Horphag Research, Indena USA, Inc., Natural Factors, New Chapter Inc., New Hope Natural Media, PlusPharma, RFI Ingredients, Traditional Medicinals, and the United Natural Products Alliance.
ABC presented the ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award to Aviva Romm, MD, for her new book Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. The ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award was presented to Professor A. Douglas Kinghorn, PhD, of Ohio State University. Finally, the ABC Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award was presented to New Chapter Inc., a producer of a unique line of dietary supplements.
“ABC is honored to be able to present this year’s awards to these highly-deserving recipients,” said Blumenthal. “Consistent with ABC’s nonprofit educational mission, ABC is recognizing excellence in achievement in the various fields in which these recipients operate.”
“The process of choosing these awardees was exceptionally challenging, as there were many highly skilled and accomplished nominees,” Blumenthal continued. “This is the result of the robust and diverse world of botanical medicine. There are numerous people in many parts of the world who are doing great work—in writing and publishing, in academic phytomedicinal research, and in the corporate world where pharmacological and clinical research and production of high-quality herbal products is becoming increasingly common.” (Phytomedicine is the science and practice of researching and employing herbal extracts and related substances for their therapeutic qualities.)
ABC’s James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award
This year’s James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award was given to Aviva Romm, MD, for her new book Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. The book was published by Churchill Livingstone, an imprint of Elsevier Inc., in St. Louis, MO, in 2010.
This award—created in 2006 in honor of noted economic botanist and author, James A. Duke, PhD—is given annually to a book or book service that provides a significant contribution to literature in the fields of botany, taxonomy, ethnobotany, phytomedicine, or other disciplines related to the vast field of medicinal plants. Dr. Duke is also a co-founding member of the ABC Board of Trustees.
Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health is a comprehensive resource of medical and herbal interventions related to women’s health issues, as well as health conditions organized chronologically by female lifecycle.1 The book, a blend of traditional and modern scientific data on botanical medicine, contains detailed plant profiles that include principle uses, clinical indications, and safety information on the most commonly used botanicals for women’s health.1
“I was pleased to select it, as appealing to me as it is—and, I anticipate, to the general herbal reading public. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health is as intellectually well-founded and needed as it is outstanding among its genre. And it is simply good reading,” said Dr. Duke. “It has an appropriate mix, to my taste, of folklore and modern and recent scientific evidence. I liked it best of the several others that were close runner-ups.”
Firmly rooted in traditional herbalism, Dr. Romm’s book contains up-to-date, evidence-based information on over 150 botanicals for over 35 different conditions, including coverage of fertility, menstrual health, and more.1 It includes appendices on common botanical names, botanical medicine resources, detailed plant illustrations and photographs that facilitate visual herb identification and substance composition, dose reference charts, and information on adverse effects/drug interactions.1 Dr. Romm demonstrates her experience as an herbalist, physician, and midwife—along with the contributions of over 30 experts with practical experience as clinicians—in this integrated approach to the blending of conventional medical and botanical treatments.
“Given the patterns of herb purchasing and use, the single most important herbal demographic is women,” said ABC Board of Trustees President, Steven Foster. “Dr. Romm’s Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health bridges the gap between an advocacy approach and an authoritative treatment of the subject [of women’s health]. She combines the empirical traditional observations of the botanical practitioner and herbalist with the detailed scientific nuance of a medical doctor,” he said. “The wisdom, limitations, and possibilities of divergent worlds usually separated by a gulf are bridged by her grasp of both worlds. Under Aviva Romm’s guidance, the result is an authoritative-yet-accessible collaborative effort with other knowledgeable, respected experts, which seamlessly blends a rare and welcome balance of tradition and science.”
Dr. Romm is a recognized expert in women’s health, women’s and pediatric botanical medicine, and midwifery.2 She practiced as an herbalist and homebirth midwife for over 20 years before becoming a physician, and was one of the first certified professional midwives in the United States.2 Other books written by Dr. Romm include The Natural Pregnancy Book (10 Speed Press, 2003), Naturally Healthy Babies and Children (10 Speed Press, 2003), ADHD Alternatives (Storey Publishing, 2000; with her husband Tracy Romm, EdD), and Natural Healing After Birth: The Complete Guide to Postpartum Wellness (Healing Arts Press, 2002).
“It is a tremendous honor to have Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health selected for such an auspicious award,” said Dr. Romm.
“The greatest gift is that the selectors are herbalists and authors I hold in such high regard. Their recognition of the quality and value of this work, which was a labor of over 8 years, including through my medical education, is deeply gratifying,” she said. “Women’s health and herbal medicine have gone hand in hand since time immemorial. On behalf of women and healthcare providers seeking natural approaches to common women’s health concerns and alternatives to reliance on medical and surgical interventions, I am grateful that this award will continue to raise awareness about the textbook and help to reinforce the important role of herbal medicines for women’s health conditions.”
Dr. Romm was honored with the Internal Medicine Award for “outstanding academic achievement and community service” upon graduating from the Yale School of Medicine. During her time as a member of the Yale Integrative Medicine advisory board, she was active in the formulation of Yale’s first integrative medicine curriculum.
She served as an expert on botanical medicine for pregnancy, lactation, and pediatrics for the revised edition of the American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook (in press).2 She also served as the President of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG) for over a decade and as the Medical Director for American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP).2
Dr. Romm, who is presently working toward the completion of her residency in Family Medicine in the Cambridge Health Alliance and at Tufts University in Boston, MA, has already contributed so much to the botanical community as a teacher and through her contributions to the establishment of standards for botanical medicine.
Additionally, Dr. Romm is the director of Herbal Medicine for Women, as well as Pediatrics for Parents, the latter of which provides parents with resources to nurture their children’s wellness more naturally.2 Dr. Romm’s books are beacons for women in any stage of life, and also for healthcare providers, including herbalists, midwives, and more. Her written contributions have also appeared in celebrated medical journals and textbooks on integrative medicine.2 Other than botanical medicine for women and children, her areas of research include mind-body medicine, evidence-based maternity care, and the impact of environment on health.2
ABC’s Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award
This year’s recipient of the Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award is Prof. A. Douglas Kinghorn, PhD, the Jack L. Beal Professor and Chair in Natural Products Chemistry and Pharmacognosy in the College of Pharmacy at Ohio State University. (Pharmacognosy is the study of drugs of natural origin, e.g., from plants.) Dr. Kinghorn has spent many years researching the isolation, characterization, and biological evaluation of natural products of higher plants of tropical and temperate origin, and is an expert in plantbased sweeteners such as the herb stevia (Stevia rebaudiana, Asteraceae).3
The award is named for ABC’s co-founding Board of Trustees member Prof. Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD, research professor of pharmacognosy and senior university scholar at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago. ABC presents this award each year to a person or institution that has made significant contributions to botanical and/or pharmacognostic research.
Dr. Kinghorn received both his PhD in pharmacognosy in 1975 and his DSc (higher doctorate) in pharmacy in 1990 from the University of London.3 His postdoctoral training was conducted at both the University of Mississippi (1975-1976) and at the University of Illinois at Chicago (1976-1977).3 Dr. Kinghorn has specialized in work on antimicrobials, botanical dietary supplements, cancer chemopreventive agents, cancer chemotherapeutic agents, and noncariogenic sweeteners/sweetness modifiers.3,4 Since Dr. Kinghorn concluded his research on sweet compounds such as stevia glycosides a few years ago, he has researched the potential cancer chemopreventive principles and the biologically active principles of botanicals such as licorice (Glycyrrhiza spp., Fabaceae), mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana, Clusiaceae), noni (Morinda citrifolia, Rubiaceae), açaí (Euterpe oleracea, Arecaceae), and baobab (Adansonia digitata, Malvaceae). Dr. Kinghorn’s research has been independently supported by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) and by private industry since 1980.3 He currently serves as principal investigator of a collaborative multi-institutional program project award from the US National Cancer Institute in Maryland directed toward the discovery of naturally occurring anticancer agents.3
“It’s obvious that Doug Kinghorn has contributed as much, if not more, than any medicinal plant scientist on the scene today related to the chemistry and pharmacology of many botanicals,” said Dr. Farnsworth. “I can think of only one or two other people that might come close. Also, his pioneering work with plant-derived sweeteners is extensive over a long period of time.”
Dr. Kinghorn’s vast contribution to botanical literature comprises 6 books—including his 2002 book on stevia, Stevia: The genus stevia (Taylor and Francis, 2002)—and the more than 450 research articles, book chapters, and reviews he has written or co-authored.3 He has shared his extensive knowledge and research at seminars and scientific meetings in more than 30 different countries around the globe.3
Dr. Kinghorn is presently distinguished as editor-in-chief of the Journal of Natural Products (co-published by the American Chemical Society and the American Society of Pharmacognosy) in addition to his role as series editor-in-chief for the book series Progress in the Chemistry of Organic Natural Products (Springer-Verlag), and his service to the advisory boards of a number of notable publications on organic chemistry, pharmacy, cancer, and natural products.3 He also currently sits on the Monographs – Dietary Supplements Expert Committee of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP). His past honors and achievements include presidency of the American Society of Pharmacognosy and the Society for Economic Botany, as well as serving as chair of the Dietary Supplements – Botanicals Expert Committee of the USP. In 2010, Dr. Kinghorn was the recipient of the Norman R. Farnsworth Research Achievement Award of the American Society of Pharmacognosy.3
“It is a very great pleasure to accept the 2010 Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award from the American Botanical Council,” said Dr. Kinghorn. “I very much admire the purpose and effectiveness of ABC, and the effective role that Mark Blumenthal plays as a spokesperson. I would like to thank Mark and the Board of Trustees for honoring me in this manner.” Dr. Kinghorn said he is pleased to be joining the 5 biomedical scientists of high caliber who have previously been given this “prestigious international annual award” from ABC. “It is especially meaningful for me that this particular award is named after Dr. Norm Farnsworth,” said Dr. Kinghorn, “since he was my postdoctoral mentor at the University of Illinois.”
Dr. Kinghorn was appointed by Dr. Farnsworth to his first faculty position as an assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) in 1977, and they worked closely together until Dr. Kinghorn left to take his present position at Ohio State in 2004. “Norm has always been a constant source of inspiration,” said Dr. Kinghorn. “Along with many other past and present colleagues, I owe him a great deal.”
ABC’s Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award
This year’s Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award goes to New Chapter Inc., a manufacturer and distributor of premium whole-food and organic dietary supplements, probiotics, vitamins, minerals, herbal therapeutics, fish oil, and mushrooms. New Chapter is the first American company to receive this research award.*
The award was named after the late Prof. Varro E. Tyler, PhD, former dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Purdue University and vice-president of Academic Affairs at Purdue. Dr. Tyler was a leading authority in botanical medicines, the principal author of numerous editions of the leading textbook on pharmacognosy formerly used in most colleges of pharmacy in the United States, and an early Trustee of ABC.
New Chapter was founded in 1982 by Paul and Barbi Schulick, who were driven by one mission: “To deliver the Wisdom of Nature to those seeking natural wellness.”5 Their business was relocated in 1986 to Brattleboro, VT, and has remained there ever since. The Schulicks were committed to promoting the benefits of plants in their unadulterated form in the creation of their herbal products.5-6 The company uses the healing sustenance of herbs and whole foods in its supplements, including the first line of whole food probiotic nutrients blended with herbal extracts.6 New Chapter sources organic ingredients and cultivates them at Luna Nueva, its Biodynamic blue ring ginger farm nestled in the rainforests of Costa Rica.6
“The founding vision and mission of New Chapter is to marry the ancient tradition of herbal medicine with the technological genius of modern science,” said founder Paul Schulick. “New Chapter is extremely inspired by Dr. Tyler and what this award signifies. It equally belongs in the hands of those scientists who’ve had the courage and wisdom to appreciate the vast potential herbs have to help heal both humankind and the planet.”
New Chapter has sought to uncover the full scope of the beneficial effects of its leading products through sponsored research agreements with some of the leading academic research institutions in the country, such as Cornell University, Columbia University, and the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.7 The majority of this research is aimed at increasing awareness over the role of inflammation, and the maintenance of normal breast and prostate health.7 Though initiated almost 8 years ago, some of these research projects have been completed only recently and are ready for publication. Other research projects, according to New Chapter, are making significant progress and will contribute to fundamental new knowledge in areas critical to human health and well-being (e.g., examination of the links and interrelationships among obesity, inflammation, and breast health in postmenopausal women).7 New Chapter has established a policy that each major new product it develops will have appropriate preclinical and clinical research behind it, supporting the formula’s mechanism of action and/or the overall intended health benefit.
Thomas M. Newmark, college friend of New Chapter cofounder Paul Schulick, was asked to join the New Chapter team in 1999, after which the company experienced immense growth and product innovation.5 Today, Newmark is the executive chairman of New Chapter.
In an e-mail to ABC, Newmark said he was humbled by the tribute and the honor of even being considered for the award. “Professor Tyler inspired the herbal industry to scientifically validate the health benefits of herbal preparations,” said Newmark. “Not only does such science give consumers much-needed confidence, but it’s a fulfillment of our sacred obligation to defend the integrity of herbal medicine. That the American Botanical Council believes we have, in any way, lived up to that obligation is deeply gratifying, and accepting the Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award will be a great moment in our company’s history.”
Robert A. Newman, PhD, chief science officer of New Chapter, and founder and former co-director of the Pharmaceutical Development Center and Analytical Center at M. D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, thanked ABC on behalf of the company and especially New Chapter’s Science and Innovation Team. Dr. Newman recently retired from M. D. Anderson after 24 years, where he also held the positions professor of pharmacology and medicine in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, and D. B. Lane Professor for Leukemia Research.
“All of us at New Chapter are thrilled and also humbled in being honored with this year’s Varro E. Tyler Award,” said Dr. Newman. “Our belief in using the finest herbal ingredients available coupled with investments in preclinical and clinical investigations of the health benefits of our supplements are our pledge and commitment to consumers and ourselves that we are delivering the very best innovative and beneficial supplement products possible. Receipt of this award represents a significant milestone in the history of our company and recognition of our research efforts is deeply appreciated.”
- Romm A. Botanical Medicine for Women’s Health. St. Louis, MO: Churchill Livingstone; 2010.
- About Aviva. Aviva Romm: Integrative Medicine for Women and Children website. Available at: www.avivaromm.com/about. Accessed February 27, 2011.
- A. Douglas Kinghorn biography. Ohio State University website. Available at: www.pharmacy.ohio-state.edu/programs/medchem/faculty/kinghorn/. Accessed March 1, 2011.
- Dr. A. Douglas Kinghorn- Brief C.V. Biography provided by Dr. Kinghorn via personal communication, March 1, 2011.
- New Chapter meet the founders page. New Chapter website. Available at: www.newchapter.com/meet-the-founders. Accessed February 26, 2011.
- New Chapter homepage. Available at: www.newchapter.com. Accessed February 27, 2011.
- New Chapter Research Report. December 1, 2010.
*Editor’s Note: In bestowing this award, ABC is not endorsing the company or its products but rather acknowledging that company’s impressive commitment to phytomedicinal research.