The nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) proudly announces the publication of the 500th issue of HerbClip. HerbClips are two-to-three-page summaries and critical reviews of seminal articles covering medicinal plant-related clinical research, regulation, market information, and conservation and sustainability developments.
HerbClip summaries and critical reviews typically are based upon human clinical trials, systematic reviews and meta-analyses of such clinical trials, as well as other articles dealing with ethnobotany, conservation and sustainability, quality control, and regulation of herbs and medicinal botanical products. These articles are drawn from a wide variety of peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals, monographs, government documents, and special reports. In addition to summarizing the original article, an HerbClip may include insights, perspectives, criticism, and/or links to other articles and issues. To help ensure their accuracy, HerbClip summaries and reviews are examined by consulting editors and peer reviewers before they are published. For example, topics covered in three of the 15 HerbClips released in the 500th HerbClip issue include green tea and blood pressure, the chemistry and pharmacology of monk fruit, and cocoa and glycemia, among others.
HerbClip’s roots stretch back to 1993, just five years after ABC was established. Back then, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal would often copy and share relevant news articles with numerous professional colleagues. When the cost of toner for ABC’s copier reached what at that time was a prohibitive $200 per month, inspiration struck. Blumenthal called two close friends in the herb community and asked if they would be willing to pay for a service to receive summaries of articles related to herb research, regulations, etc. The friends agreed and HerbClip was born.
In the beginning, HerbClip involved mailing summaries and reviews of herbal literature to ABC colleagues in the academic and scientific communities, as well as key members of the herb and natural products industry. At the time, no similar service existed in the natural medicine and herbal supplement industry. The groundbreaking HerbClips offered not only summaries and reviews, but also the original articles on which they were based (when such permissions were granted by the articles’ publishers).
In 2005, ABC started to include HerbClip News, which provides additional information about one of the topics covered in each issue. The 500th issue includes an HerbClip News article on Cacao Blanco—white cocoa beans. The year 2007 saw the first electronic HerbClips sent to ABC members, dramatically expanding the number of people receiving HerbClip. By 2009, all HerbClips were being delivered electronically via HerbClip e Service. This change futher solidified the organization's commitment to environmental sustainability while saving ABC printing and postage costs.
“ABC is proud to have sent out our 500th issue of our unique HerbClips,” said Blumenthal, who also serves as HerbClip’s editor-in-chief. “Many of ABC’s members tell us that they find the extensive research information in HerbClip to be one of the most useful and unique benefits of ABC membership.”
“HerbClip has changed and grown tremendously over its 20-plus years,” said HerbClip Managing Editor Lori Glenn. “For more than a decade, it has been my privilege to help instigate this growth and to be part of the transformations, both big and small, that have occurred. I am grateful that ABC provides such a concise and easily accessible learning opportunity for both professionals and laypersons.”
“As we move forward toward the next 500 issues of HerbClip,” said Blumenthal, “this is an appropriate time to acknowledge Lori Glenn for her many years of excellent service to ABC and the herbal community at large for her diligent work in helping to spread news about recent research in herbs, phytomedicines, and other beneficial plants and their preparations. We also thank the many HerbClip writers, editors, and hundreds of peer reviewers from the ABC Advisory Board and many others who have contributed to HerbClip’s growth and success. This certainly includes ABC staff member Tamarind Reaves, HerbClip Assistant Editor, who has meticulously edited HerbClip since 2009.”
Blumenthal added that ABC is particularly grateful to HerbClip writers Heather Oliff, PhD, Risa Schulman, PhD, Shari Henson, and Mariann Garner-Wizard, all of whom have worked on writing and/or editing HerbClip for more than 10 years, as well as Dennis Awang, PhD; Francis Brinker, ND; and ABC Board of Trustees Chair Steven Foster for their long-term service to ABC as valued HerbClip editors.
Remarking on a previous HerbClip milestone in 2012, Tieraona Low Dog, MD, who is Director of the Fellowship at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center, and also an ABC Advisory Board member, said, “HerbClips are an invaluable resource for busy clinicians who are trying to keep up-to-date with the research on herbal medicines. They are a tremendous contribution to the field, which is why we offer them to all of our Fellows at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine.”
HerbClip summaries and reviews are available online through the ABC website, herbalgram.org. The entire HerbClip database, consisting of more than 5,740 articles in the 500 issues, is searchable by any term, including the common names and Latin binomials of herbs, names of authors of the originally cited article, journal titles, pharmacological actions, clinical endpoints tested in clinical trials, and more.
Fifteen new HerbClips and an HerbClip News article are produced twice monthly. All ABC members, and non-members, have access to at least two free HerbClips from each installment; ABC members at the Academic level and above can access all HerbClips. Sponsor members receive HerbClips and, when available, the PDF versions of the original articles on which they are based.