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American Botanical Council Publishes 9,000th HerbClip Research Summary

The American Botanical Council (ABC) is pleased to announce the publication of its 9,000th HerbClip. An essential research and educational resource for scientists, researchers, health professionals, industry members, and others, HerbClips are two- to three-page summaries and critical reviews of scientific journal articles that cover medicinal plant-related human clinical research, ethnobotanical reviews, analytical methods, regulatory data, market information, conservation and sustainability studies, and more.

HerbClip summaries typically focus on the growing body of human clinical research on herbal products, including systematic reviews and meta-analyses of these trials. In the past 20 years most HerbClips have been based on articles from a wide variety of peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals. In its earlier publications, many HerbClips also included summaries of monographs, government documents, special reports, trade journals, and news articles. 

HerbClip started in 1992, four years after ABC was founded. At the time, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal would designate relevant news and scientific articles to be photocopied and mailed to numerous friends and colleagues. HerbClip initially involved mailing summaries and reviews of herbal literature to ABC colleagues in the academic and scientific communities, as well as members of industry. As far as is known, no similar service existed in the herbal medicine community and dietary supplement industry at the time. In 2005, ABC added “HerbClip News,” a column of commentary from HerbClip Managing Editor Lori Glenn, with each mailing. Two years later, in 2007, the first electronic HerbClips were sent to ABC members, which dramatically expanded readership. By 2009, all HerbClips were delivered electronically, reflecting ABC’s commitment to environmental sustainability.

Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC’s chief science officer, said: “My first encounter with HerbClips was in the late 1990s during my time at Tom’s of Maine. We got the printed version and filed them according to the plant that was covered in the HerbClip, eventually filling up a number of file cabinets. Many of the HerbClip summaries were used to establish substantiation files for our dietary supplement ingredients. In addition, these documents were a really great way for me to keep up with the clinical literature on herbal products.”

“HerbClip has uniquely documented the explosive growth in clinical research on medicinal plant formulations,” said Blumenthal. “These days there are so many clinical research trials being published that we cannot keep up with the pace of publication. We now seldom produce HerbClip summaries and critical reviews on the thousands of studies that cover medicinal plant chemistry, toxicology, and pharmacological research each year – much of which is not always directly relevant to traditional and modern use of medicinal plants. Instead, we focus on human trials, making HerbClip a unique and invaluable resource.”

The entire database of more than 9,000 HerbClip article summaries is searchable by common and Latin names of herbs, author names, journal and article titles, pharmacological actions, clinical endpoints, conditions, and more. Sixteen new HerbClips and an HerbClip News article are produced twice monthly. At least four HerbClips from each bi-weekly installment are available to the public for free.