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New strategy for traditional and complementary medicine includes the development and use of herbal medicinal preparations
By Michael Smith, Andrea Burton, and Torkel Falkenberg
Released in October 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) Traditional Medicine Strategy 2014-2023 was the first update to address global traditional and complementary healthcare in more than a decade. The new WHO document encourages responsible policy development, consumer education, and quality assurance measures. Read more>>

By Hannah Bauman
Researchers in Florida have recently completed a survey of the surviving populations of the Miccosukee gooseberry (Ribes echinellum). With the plants' long-term survival in question, geneticists and conservationists are working to develop strategies to increase genetic diversity and maintain its current habitat. Read more>>

By ABC Staff
ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal recently submitted a letter to the editor of TIME magazine regarding an erroneous statement in one of its articles that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not regulate herbs and supplements. Read more>>

By ABC Staff
ABC issued additional member advisories in April on the shortcomings of two highly critical articles on herbal and dietary supplement regulations. The New York Times article by Anahad O'Connor echoed many of the concerns previously noted by Pieter Cohen, MD, in the New England Journal of MedicineRead more>>

Ribes nigrum, a relative of Miccosukee gooseberry.

Featured Book
Manifesting Minds: A Review of Psychedelics in Science, Medicine, Sex, and Spirituality was edited by Rick Doblin, PhD, and Brad Burge and published in 2014 by Evolver Editions, an imprint of North Atlantic Books. The featured excerpt includes the book’s title page, table of contents, foreword, and a chapter titled “Consideration of Ayahuasca for the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.”

Manifesting Minds is an anthology of essays, interviews, articles, and personal accounts collected by the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) exploring the therapeutic and medicinal applications of marijuana and various psychedelic drugs, as well as the drugs’ positive impact on art, sports, science, sexuality, spirituality, ecology, and technology.

The anthology is divided into sections by topic, and each topic features three to seven essays. Highlights of the collection include research data on the efficacy of ibogaine (a hallucinogenic compound derived from Tabernanthe iboga) in the treatment of drug addiction and an interview with Aldous Huxley. Dr. Doblin is the founder and executive director of MAPS, which is currently involved in research programs focusing on the use of psychedelic healing herbs for a variety of disorders — a field of study that is well represented in this collection.

Available for purchase at the publisher’s website.

Media Watch

We have tested the following article links prior to publication; however, some news organizations remove stories and disable links at various times. ABC sends links to these articles as an educational service, but cannot guarantee the accuracy of the information in them.

Kentucky Ready to Plant Its First Industrial Hemp Crop in Decades. Grand Island Independent. 5-3-14. State officials are preparing to plant hemp crops, now legal under federal law, for research and commercial purposes.

The Medicinal Plant Names Maze
. 5-2-14. Kew's Plant Names Services aims to create an accessible and up-to-date database on scientific and common plant names.

Here's the Scoop on Jackfruit, a Ginormous Fruit to Feed the World
. NPR. 5-1-14. The versatile, easy-to-grow fruit is rich in protein and vitamin B and may be a viable source of nutrition for underserved villages.

Why Do People Take Ayahuasca?
 BBC News. 4-29-14. A British student recently died after reportedly ingesting the hallucinogenic beverage.

Why Chocolate Is Good for Us
. New York Times. 4-24-14. Researchers are trying to determine how chocolate flavonols exert their beneficial health effects.

Bio-Piracy: When Western Firms Usurp Eastern Medicine
. Forbes. 4-21-14. With proper compensation, the patenting of traditional herbal medicines can be potentially beneficial for both indigenous groups and corporations.

Trial of GM Plants to Help Fight Heart Disease Given Go-Ahead
. The Guardian. 4-17-14. Scientists have modified camelina plants to produce seeds with a high omega-3 fatty acid content.

Green Tea Boosts Your Brain Power, Especially the Working Memory
. Science Daily. 4-7-14. Green tea has been found to increase the connectivity between the frontal and parietal regions of the brain.
Community And Industry Releases

AHPA Launches Free Botanical Identity References Compendium. Press release from the American Herbal Products Association. 5-8-14.

USP Urges Consumers to Consider the Quality of their Herbal Products. Press release from the US Pharmacopeial Convention. 5-5-14.

Dietary Supplement Use Among US Adults More Prevalent Than Previously Thought, Says New Published Review. Press release from the Council for Responsible Nutrition. 4-14-14.

Nation’s Largest Association for Natural Products Names FDA Official Dr. Daniel Fabricant As New CEO. Press release from Natural Products Association. 4-8-14.

With Governor O'Malley's Signature, Maryland Becomes 21st Medical Marijuana State
. Press release from Americans for Safe Access. 4-14-14.

AHPA-ERB Foundation to Fund Multi-Year Osha Sustainability Study
. Update from the AHPA-ERB Foundation. 4-29-14.


May 30-June 2: Medicines from the Earth Symposium. Black Mountain, NC.

June 19-20: Soulful Apothecary. West Tisbury, MA.

July 22-25: Nutrition Business Journal Summit. Dana Point, CA.

More event listings can be found on ABC's website.

Herbal IQ

Maiwein (May Wine) is a German punch that's traditionally consumed on May Day. It's made from sparkling wine, Riesling, strawberries, and infused with what traditional herb? Find the answer here!