Herbal groups publish Botanical Adulterants Monitor

New newsletter from ABC, AHP and NCNPR focuses on topics related to prevention of herbal product adulteration .

A consortium of nonprofit herbal advocacy and research organizations announces the publication of a new e-newsletter, the “Botanical Adulterants Monitor.” The publication’s purpose is to provide information related to the prevention and detection of herbal adulteration, quality assurance challenges facing the global botanical products community, and the work of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, led by the American Botanical Council (ABC), the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia (AHP), and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR).  

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program was created in 2011 to educate members of the international herbal and dietary supplements industry about botanical ingredient and product adulteration. The program focuses on accidental adulteration that occurs as a result of poor quality control procedures as well as intentional adulteration of plant-based products for financial gain. Now, more than three years since the Program’s creation—and with an ever-increasing number of questions from both the media and the general public about the quality of herbal and botanical medicines—the new “Botanical Adulterants Monitor” is the next logical step in the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program’s growth.

“The purpose of our Program is primarily educational,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC, and founder and director of the Program. “There are numerous publications on new analytical methods, recent regulatory actions, and a wide variety of workshops, seminars, webinars, and other educational resources that relate to botanical ingredient identity, authenticity, and ways that botanical materials and their extracts are accidentally or intentionally adulterated. Such adulteration results in cheapening the end product and reducing the likelihood that consumers will receive the benefits that they are seeking and expecting. The ‘Botanical Adulterants Monitor’ newsletter is a valuable way for people in the botanical community to be informed about new developments in areas related to ensuring the authenticity of botanical materials used in herbal products.”

The editor of the “Botanical Adulterants Monitor” is ABC Chief Science Officer Stefan Gafner, PhD, who joined ABC’s staff in 2013. In his introduction to the first issue, Dr. Gafner states, “Our goal for this newsletter is to provide newly available information on issues surrounding accidental and intentional adulteration—and, to a lesser extent, the equally important problem of contamination—as reported by regulatory agencies or in published studies. 

“As such,” he continues, “this newsletter is intended to be a helpful resource for members of industry, scientists at academic institutions interested in authentication of herbal materials and the detection of adulteration, as well as health professionals, herbalists, and other stakeholders.”

Inside each issue of the “Botanical Adulterants Monitor,” readers will find news from the Botanical Adulterants Program, recent regulatory activity by the US Food and Drug Administration and/or regulatory agencies in other countries, publications from other organizations, reviews of recently published analytical methods, and additional resources related to detection and prevention of botanical ingredient adulteration. In keeping with ABC’s mission to provide the public with reliable, science-based herbal education, as well as the mission of the Botanical Adulterants Program, the newsletter will be free-access and available to all interested parties. 

“The ‘Botanical Adulterants Monitor’ is an excellent vehicle to keep abreast of the latest news, information, and research on issues of interest to savvy consumers, healthcare professionals, researchers, managers, and technicians relative to the Botanical Adulterants Program,” said ABC Board of Trustees President Steven Foster.


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