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Books on Medicinal Herbs in Primary Care and the History of American Ginseng Receive 2023 ABC James A. Duke Award

AUSTIN, Texas (April 3, 2023) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) presented its 2023 ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award to Medicinal Herbs in Primary Care: An Evidence-Guided Reference for Healthcare Providers (Elsevier, 2022) by Jean M. Bokelmann, MD, in the reference/technical category and Ginseng Diggers: A History of Root and Herb Gathering in Appalachia (University Press of Kentucky, 2022) by Luke Manget, PhD, in the consumer/popular category.

ABC gives the Duke Award annually to books that contribute significantly to the medicinal plant-related literature and the fields of botany, taxonomy, ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, phytomedicine, and other related disciplines. The award was created in 2006 to honor the late economic botanist and author James A. Duke, PhD (1929–2017). Duke’s prestigious career achievements in economic botany and ethnobotany include decades of work as the lead medicinal plant expert at the United States Department of Agriculture and the authorship and co-authorship of more than 30 reference and consumer books. Among his many other activities and positions, he was also a co-founder of ABC and served on its Board of Trustees.

Reference/Technical Category

Medicinal Herbs in Primary Care is a guide for conventional health care providers and offers easy-to-access information on the use of herbs in primary care. Bokelmann drew from her experience as an integrative health specialist in family medicine and organized the book in a provider-friendly way, with important information about herbs, their actions, and their contraindications. With tables, monographs, and clinical evidence, as well as a basic primer on herbal medicine, Bokelmann’s practical reference helps conventional primary care providers familiarize themselves with the use of botanicals in medicine to better serve their patients.

In her review in HerbalGram issue 137, Tieraona Low Dog, MD, wrote: “Medicinal Herbs in Primary Care is an excellent resource for busy clinicians who feel overwhelmed by the depth and breadth of this topic…. This text is an invaluable reference guide for primary care clinicians, subspecialists, pharmacists, nurses, physician assistants, researchers, naturopathic physicians, and herbalists alike.”

Bokelmann is a retired assistant professor of family medicine and geriatrics and current adjunct faculty member of the Idaho State University (ISU) Family Medicine Residency Program in Pocatello, Idaho. She was a founding member of this faculty program and has taught integrative medicine in the residency program since 2004. Bokelmann is a frequent lecturer and has given presentations and workshops on integrative medicine, herbal medicine, and aromatherapy for the ISU Family Medicine Residency Program, ISU physician assistant program, ISU College of Pharmacy, Idaho Academy of Physician Assistants, Alaska Academy of Family Physicians’ Annual Scientific Congress, and National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

Bokelmann said: “I am both honored and humbled to receive the ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award in the reference/technical category. In writing Medicinal Herbs in Primary Care, I strove to [strengthen] the bridge between the medical and herbal communities. The American Botanical Council played a critical role in this process through its comprehensive research database and through its promotion of the documented benefits and efficacy of herbs. It is my hope that this reference book will serve as a practical resource for conventional medical providers and that it will stimulate further clinical research in the field of medicinal herbs. Thank you, ABC!”

ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal said: “Dr. Bokelmann is a longtime, valued professional member of ABC, and I have admired her keen interest in and passion for herbs, phytomedicines, and essential oils. Along with other members of the ABC Duke Award committee, I, too, was impressed with the amount of detail and extent of coverage of her new book. I am pleased that she was able to derive so much research value from her online benefits as an ABC professional member.”

Consumer/Popular Category

Ginseng Diggers chronicles the history of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius), from its introduction to European colonists by the Cherokee to its current market status. Manget weaves together storytelling and scholarly research and traces the impacts of the trade of ginseng and other forest commodities, both botanical and animal (e.g., fur), on Native American tribes and European settlers in the Appalachian region. Manget’s book also details the gradual commodification of previously common land and the transition from plant-based medicines to modern pharmaceuticals.

According to Edward J. Fletcher’s review in HerbalGram issue 137: “Herbalists, researchers, students of history, and those who are simply interested in ‘sang’ will find numerous nuggets of historical gold that Manget includes throughout this very readable and educational book.”

Luke Manget is a professor of history at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina. He previously taught as an assistant professor of history at Dalton State College in Dalton, Georgia, and a lecturer at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He has given lectures at many meetings and symposia regarding the status of the herb trade in Appalachia, including with ABC’s Sustainable Herbs Program. He also has authored numerous journal articles and a book chapter. Ginseng Diggers is his first book.

Manget said: “I am deeply honored to receive the James A. Duke Award, an award named after such an important figure in ethnobotany. It brings me great joy that the award committee felt Ginseng Diggers is worthy of such an award. In fact, it brings great joy to my entire family, as my botanist father, Tom Manget, who studied botany in the 1970s, saw Duke as a hero. I grew up hearing stories of [Duke’s] amazing accomplishments. I’d like to thank the American Botanical Council staff and the Board of Trustees not only for this award but also for all their work promoting herbal medicine.”

Blumenthal said: “I am certain that if Jim were alive today, he would certainly agree with the award committee’s choice of Luke Manget’s book about wild ginseng and other wild medicinal plants of the Appalachians. Jim spent much of his early years in North Carolina, which is one of the most botanically diverse areas of North America and replete with native medicinal plants, the trade in which is expertly described in Ginseng Diggers. Dr. Manget deserves much recognition and gratitude from not only people in the medicinal plant community, but also anyone who values knowledge about the cultural and economic history of the United States.”

Previous Recipients

Past Duke Award recipients include: A History of the Korean Ginseng Industry (2022, reference/technical category) and The Plant Hunter (2022, consumer/popular category), Christopher Hobbs’s Medicinal Mushrooms (2020), Flora of the Voynich Codex (2019), Ethnopharmacologic Search for Ethnobotanical Drugs, Vols. I and II (2018), Chinese Medicinal Plants, Herbal Drugs and Substitutes (2017, reference/technical category) and Joseph Banks’ Florilegium (2017, consumer/popular category), Handbook of Essential Oils, 2nd edition (2016), Clinical Aromatherapy, 3rd edition (2015), Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge (2014), Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, 2nd edition (2013), and Medicinal Plants and the Legacy of Richard E. Schultes (2012, reference/technical category) and Smoke Signals (2012, consumer/popular category).

The 2023 Duke awards were presented at the 18th annual ABC Celebration and Botanical Excellence Awards Ceremony on March 8, 2023, in Anaheim, California, during the annual Natural Products Expo West Conference and Trade Show. The ABC Celebration and ABC Botanical Excellence Awards were generously underwritten by Alkemist Labs, Amin Talati Wasserman, Applied Food Sciences, Brassica Protection Products, Eurofins, Euromed, EuroPharma, Herb Pharm, Indena, MegaFood, Natural Factors, New Chapter, NOW Foods, RFI, RT Specialty, and the United Natural Products Alliance.