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Cannabis Field of cultivated cannabis (Cannabis sativa) in
Northern Morocco. ©2011 Ethan Russo

In March, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) posted a webpage summarizing the science behind cannabis used in cancer treatment. As discussed in an article in this issue of HerbalEGram, NCI says this page is an independent review and does not represent a policy statement, but others are saying it is the first time a US government agency has acknowledged medicinal uses of the herb.

Additional articles in this issue discuss the SaluGenecists Database and the US National Toxicology Program's Initiative on Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines.

ABC recently acquired full ownership and management of the HerbMed and HerbMedPro databases from the Alternative Medicine Foundation. In each issue of HerbalEGram, ABC will highlight an herb of interest. The Herb of the Month for May is fennel (Foeniculum vulgare).

Additionally, ABC recently welcomed 9 new members to its Advisory Board, and ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal recently spoke to the US Congressional Dietary Supplements Caucus


The Staff of the American Botanical Council


HG89 coverHerbalGram 89 includes a safety review of bitter orange, which Consumer Reports recently dubbed a “dietary supplement to avoid.” The issue also features an overview of Ligusticum species indigenous to North America, with emphasis on ethnobotanical uses and proposed sustainable wild-harvesting practices. Additionally, HerbalGram 89 presents articles on The Plant List—the first comprehensive inventory of most known plant species—and on ancient cancer-fighting herbal beverages.

Featured Book

 May’s selected book excerpt comes from the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia's textbook, BOTANICAL PHARMACOGNOSY Microscopic Characterization of Botanical Medicines, which was edited by Roy Upton, Alison Graff, Georgina Joliffe, Reinhard Langer, and Elizabeth Williamson, and published in 2011 by CRC Press. This excerpt includes the book’s table of contents, foreword, preface, introduction, and Chapter 1, "Classical Botanical Pharmacognosy: From Dioscorides to Modern Herbal Medicines." All are available here.

©2011 CRC Press


Media Watch

We have tested the links of the following articles prior to publication; however, some news organizations remove stories and disable links at various times.

One in 10 Infants Get Herbal Supplements that may Pose Risks. Bloomberg. 5-1-11. Though the results of this recent FDA survey of more than 2,600 mothers has some concerned, ABC's Blumenthal told reporters that the majority of products seem to be relatively safe and mild.

FDA Rule Could Rock Supplements Industry. The Salt Lake Tribune. 5-1-11. Due to the low number of new dietary ingredient applications, the US Congress is requiring the FDA to publish a guidance document on the situation by the end of June 2011.

Health Shops' Fear Over EU Ban on Herbal Medicines
. The Herald. 4-30-11. As EU regulations come into full effect, many herbal practitioners and shops have been preparing for its consequences.

Yerba Mate Extract May Provide New Raw Material for Supplements. NutraIngredients. 4-26-11. Researchers in Brazil have successfully produced a yerba mate extract, which could soon serve as an alternative to yerba mate tea.

Ginseng Doesn't Help Patients with Early Diabetes. Washington University in St. Louis. 4-18-11. A new human study has shown that ginseng did not improve symptoms in a small sample of people recently diagnosed with diabetes.

Herbal Medicine Index Launched. Global Times. 4-17-11. China's recently debuted herbal medicine index aims to monitor prices and regulate the Chinese herbal medicine market.

Beauty in Botany. The Scientist. 4-15-11. A new art exhibit at the New York Botanical Garden highlights paintings and drawings of useful and medicinal plants, and presents a focus on sustainability and conservation.

USDA Analysis Questions Green Tea Supplements. NutraIngredients. 4-12-11. A recent study has researchers asking if green tea supplements are good alternatives to green tea when many have been found to have different chemical compositions and non-tea ingredients.


May 24-27: International Conference on Natural Products. Toulouse, France.

June 4-6: Medicines from the Earth Symposium. Black Mountain, NC.

July 9-13: 52nd Annual Meeting of the Society for Economic Botany. St. Louis, MI.

More event listings are available here.

Recent News
NCI Cannabis Webpage 3

The National Cancer Institute's new review
on cannabis used in cancer treatment.

US Government Institution Acknowledges Medicinal Uses of Cannabis. Many are saying that the National Cancer Institute's new summary on the medicinal uses of cannabis in cancer treatment further illustrates why the herb should not be classified as a Schedule I drug.

Integrative Medicine Pioneer Joe Pizzorno Launches SaluGenecists Database. Consumer and professional versions of this database provide customized nutrition and complementary medicine guidance.

National Toxicology Program's Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines Initiative. This program of the US government, which aims to evaluate agents of public concern, currently studies many herbal medicines and non-herbal dietary supplements and publishes reports and conclusions on their toxicity profiles.