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By Tyler Smith
In an unprecedented move, in early February, New York State Attorney General (NY AG) Eric T. Schneiderman ordered four major US retailers to remove certain store-brand herbal supplements from their shelves after a DNA analysis found that nearly 80% lacked the labeled herbs or contained unlisted ingredients. Natural products experts, industry trade organizations, and others quickly responded to the news, criticizing the appropriateness of DNA barcoding for herbal extracts, creating new educational "microsites" and social media campaigns, and initiating independent analyses of the supplements. In the following weeks, Schneiderman has taken additional actions against the retail giants and other manufacturers of herbal supplements, leaving consumers in a state of confusion and the natural products community wondering what might come next. Read more>>

By ABC Staff
ABC was pleased to present its Botanical Excellence Awards at the 10th annual ABC Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony on March 5, in Anaheim, California. For more information about the recipients and their achievements, please click on the the links below.

ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award
Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge by Nancy J. Turner, PhD

ABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award
Professor Harry H.S. Fong, PhD, University of Illinois - Chicago

ABC Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award - Soho Flordis International (SFI)

ABC Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award
Loren Israelsen, President of the United Natural Products Alliance

By Hannah Bauman and Kelly Hill
This month's Food as Medicine article takes an in-depth look at ginger. With a history of use going back thousands of years in China and India, ginger has been the subject of a large number of scientific studies examining its efficacy in treating a variety of conditions. Both raw and dried ginger contain bioactive compounds known as gingerols, which exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticarcinogenic properties. Because ginger is well tolerated by many different populations, it is a popular nausea remedy for children, pregnant women, and cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. In addition to treating nausea, ginger also has been studied for alleviating conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, dysmenorrhea, muscle pain, and type 2 diabetes. Read more>>

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman

Zingiber officinale

Featured Book
That Glorious Forest: Exploring the Plants and Their Indigenous Uses in Amazonia was written by Ghillean T. Prance and published in 2014 by the New York Botanical Garden Press. The excerpt includes the title page, table of contents, foreword by the author, and Chapter 11, “The Alpha Helix Expedition, February 3 – March 8, 1977.”

Prance, who worked with the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG) for 25 years before serving as the director of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has written the latest in the NYBG “Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden” series about his many expeditions into the Amazon. He writes extensively about his experiences in meeting, working, and dealing with the local indigenous tribes, the trials and tribulations of trying to preserve samples in a rainforest, and the opportunities to name and record new plant life.

The chapters are written in chronological order, and each corresponds to its own expedition, spanning from 1963 to 1987. The author’s own photos are displayed throughout the pages, showing some of the plant species he encountered as well as a more human aspect, including his family, the people with whom he worked, and the foibles of traveling on unpaved roads.

That Glorious Forest 
can be purchased from a variety of online retailers.
Media Watch

Healers Once Prescribed Chocolate Like AspirinSmithsonian Magazine. 2-12-15. Embraced as a cure-all on both sides of the Atlantic, chocolate has been used in medicinal preparations for hundreds if not thousands of years.

Flower Pharmacies Help Bees Fight Parasites
. The Conversation. 2-18-15. A growing body of research suggests sick bees may change their foraging behavior to derive medicinal benefits from plant chemistry.

Back to Basics
Natural Products Insider. 3-5-15. NPI offers a quick overview of what makes a good, safe, and effective dietary supplement.

Kava Ban Move Shocks Islanders
. Tonga Daily News. 2-25-15. A proposed ban on kava imports in Australia has angered Pacific Islanders, who imbibe kava as part of their culture.

The Trip Treatment: Research into Psychedelics, Shut Down for Decades, Is Now Yielding Exciting Results
New Yorker. 2-9-15. Michael Pollan writes at length about the history of psychedelic drug research and the administration of psilocybin to help dying patients cope.

Tribes From Around US Gather to Discuss Legal Marijuana
. ABC News. 2-27-15. The Justice Department granted reservations the right to legally grow marijuana, but high rates of substance abuse have tribal elders exercising caution.

Prehistoric Pharmacy: The Desert Provides a Surprising List of Healing Plants
. Desert Exposure. 3-1-15. Wild desert plants have played a vital role in Native American physical and spiritual healing for many generations.

Daily Coffee Polyphenols Can Reduce Diabetes Risk, Say Japanese Researchers
. NutraIngredients-USA. 3-4-15. Japanese researchers have found coffee polyphenols can reduce type 2 diabetes risk via an insulin-regulating intestinal peptide.

Community And Industry Releases

New White Paper on DNA Barcode Testing Refutes Results from New York Attorney General's Investigation of Botanical Supplements. Joint press release from American Herbal Products Association, Consumer Healthcare Products Association, Council for Responsible Nutrition, and United Natural Products Alliance. 3-11-15.

US Congress: Legislation Introduced To Get the Feds Out Of The Marijuana Enforcement Business. Press release from NORML. 2-26-15.

New Independent Stamp of Approval by NPA and UL for Dietary Supplement Safety and Standards Announced Today. Press release from Natural Products Association. 3-9-15.

Surgeon General Acknowledges "Marijuana Can Be Helpful". Press release from NORML. 2-12-15.

Human Health Benefits from Protecting Biodiversity Highlighted in New CBD-WHO Report. Press release from TRAFFIC. 2-13-15.

AHPA Recognizes Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, Mountain Rose Herbs and Dick Griffin for Herbal Industry Contributions. American Herbal Products Association. 3-10-15.


March 20-22: 9th International Conference on Herbal Medicine. Sydney, Australia.

April 7-9: Ingredients Marketplace. Orlando, Florida, USA.

May 6-8: World Tea Expo. Long Beach, California, USA.

June 12-14: 2015 International Herb Symposium. Norton, Massachusetts, USA.

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

Herbal IQ

If your lucky shamrock is a young red clover, can you name its many health benefits? Find the answers here!