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Koji Nakanishi
Image courtesy of Columbia University


Remembering Koji Nakanishi: 1925-2019

By Hannah Bauman
Natural products chemist Koji Nakanishi, PhD, died at the age of 93 on March 28, 2019. His celebrated, six-decade career focused on the isolation and identification of bioactive compounds, specifically ginkgolides, and his research group at Columbia University studied the effects of ginkgo extract on neurological conditions. He also isolated and identified plant and insect toxins in addition to researching the cause and prevention of macular degeneration. Read more >>







Dried kratom leaves
Image courtesy of the US Drug Enforcement Administration


Kratom Research Grant: NIDA Gives University of Florida $3.5 Million to Study Southeast Asian Tree

By Connor Yearsley
The US National Institute on Drug Abuse recently awarded researchers at the University of Florida a $3.5-million grant to study at least 11 alkaloids from the leaves of the Southeast Asian tree kratom (Mitragyna speciosa, Rubiaceae). Alkaloids from kratom have opioid-like effects, and the research will investigate their effects on the body and mechanisms of action. This work may have implications for future kratom-related developments, including human clinical trials and the creation of a standardized kratom preparation. The results also will be used in discussions about whether to place kratom in a schedule of the Controlled Substances Act. Read more >>






Garden rhubarb
©2019 Steven Foster


Food as Medicine: Rhubarb (Rheum spp., Polygonaceae)

By Hannah Bauman and Jennifer Wible
Synonymous with spring, the bright stalks of garden rhubarb hint at the beneficial phytochemicals within. Before the stalks were popular in pies and jams, however, the root of Rheum species was used for more than 5,000 years in the traditional medicine systems of northern Asia. Read more >>







Did you know? HerbalGram is available in three digital formats: PDF, page-flip, and HTML. Check them out!

Featured Book
Chocolate book cover  
Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods was written by Linda Woolven and Ted Snider and published in 2018 by Lotus Press. The except includes the title page, table of contents, foreword by Michael T. Murray, ND, and Chapter 5, “Chocolate and High Blood Pressure.”

Master herbalist Linda Woolven and author Ted Snider have produced a text that explores the benefits of chocolate and its flavonoids for heart health, cognition, and multiple conditions and disease states, including diabetes. The authors also discuss chocolate’s history of use, production, and mythology. In addition, the book includes recipe ideas for incorporating chocolate and cocoa into the diet in creative ways.

In the foreword, naturopathic physician Michael Murray, ND, wrote: “This book is packed with series of observations, facts, and findings that can lead you on an amazing journey of discovery of the remarkable ways in which chocolate can impact your health.”

Reproduced with permission from Chocolate: Superfood of the Gods by Linda Woolven and Ted Snider, foreword by Michael T. Murray, ND. Lotus Press, a division of Lotus Brands, Inc., PO Box 325, Twin Lakes, WI 53181, USA, ©2019. All rights reserved.
Media Watch

Nutrients from Food, Not Supplements, Linked to Lower Risks of Death, Cancer. EurekAlert! April 8, 2019. Adequate intake of certain nutrients from food sources is associated with a reduction in mortality, but there was no association between supplement use and a lower risk of death.

Study Upends ‘Dogma’ on Malaria Drug Component. NC State University News. April 8, 2019. A new study shows that artemisinin, the anti-malarial compound in sweet wormwood, can be produced more readily in the plant than previously understood.

What Is the ‘Mushroom of Immortality’? Forbes. April 7, 2019. Reishi mushroom has been growing in popularity as an ingredient in dietary supplements for its immune-boosting effects.

Medicinal Plants Used in Traditional Remedies under Threat in Mexico. TRT World. April 7, 2019. Development threatens the wild supply of medicinal plants in Mexico, where as much as 80% of the rural population depends on traditional medicine.

Industry Expert Warns of Dwindling Natural Resources and Importance of Clinically Validated By-Products for NPD. NutraIngredients-USA. April 5, 2019. Minimizing waste, standardizing herbal extracts, and catering to niche market segments are vital to longevity in Asia’s nutraceutical market, according to a long-standing R&D expert.

FDA Finds Unsafe Levels of Heavy Metals in Kratom. Pain News Network. April 5, 2019. The US Food and Drug Administration tested 30 kratom products that were found to contain unsafe levels of lead and nickel.

Crushing Biopiracy in Sri Lanka. Daily News. April 3, 2019. Two universities have formed a partnership to document the genetic barcodes of medicinal plants in Sri Lanka in an effort to protect the diverse flora and culture from exploitation by outside companies.

Florida Seeks to Limit Strength of Smokable Medical Pot. US News & World Report. April 3, 2019. The House Health and Human Services Committee in Florida has voted to cap THC levels in smokable medical marijuana at 10% in a move protested by patient advocates.

HerbalMediaWatch-Small.jpg Read more Herbal MediaWatch headlines here.


HerbDay 2019. May 4, 2019. Austin, Texas, and other locations.

Sixth Annual Traditional Roots Herbal Conference. May 17-19, 2019. Portland, Oregon.

International Garlic Symposium. May 28-30, 2019. Hiroshima, Japan.

Fourth International Conference on Natural Products Utilization. May 29 – June 1, 2019. Albena Resort, Bulgaria.

NBJ Summit. July 15-18, 2019. Rancho Palos, California.

Sixth World Congress on Medicinal and Aromatic Plants. November 13-17, 2019. Famagusta, Northern Cyprus.

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

Herbal IQ

This plant’s juicy, sunny fruit is a powerhouse of vitamin A, but its leaves may be the key to improving muscle performance. Find out what it is here!