Wakunaga wins ABC phytomedicinal research award

Wakunaga wins ABC phytomedicinal research award

Company takes home the 2013 Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award for its commitment to rigorous research of its products.

The American Botanical Council (ABC) has presented its 2013 Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award to Wakunaga Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd of Osaka, Japan. Since its founding in 1955, the company has been committed to rigorous scientific and clinical research of its products, including its top-selling, clinically researched odorless Aged Garlic Extract®.

"The ABC Varro E. Tyler Award represents our extensive chemical, pharmacological, and clinical research on Wakunaga's proprietary Aged Garlic Extract, sold as Kyolic Aged Garlic Extract in the USA and almost 50 international markets," said Albert Dahbour, vice president of Wakunaga of America, a subsidiary established in the early 1970s. "We invest a lot in scientific discovery and to be recognized for our dedication to botanical research is very inspiring for us."

The late Prof. Tyler, who has been described as one of the most respected men in late 20th century herbal medicine and pharmacognosy (the study of medicines of natural origin, usually from plants), was an early trustee of ABC, dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at Purdue University, and vice president of academic affairs at Purdue. He was the senior author of six editions of the leading textbook in the field, formerly used in every college of pharmacy in the United States, as well as numerous other professional and popular books and many articles in the academic literature.

"Prof. Tyler always believed that herb companies should reinvest a portion of their annual sales revenues into legitimate scientific and clinical research, and that is why we established this award in his name," said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. "In our view, Wakunaga merits ABC's
recognition for its outstanding commitment to such research, as evidenced by its strong record of funding hundreds of chemical, pharmacological, and clinical studies on its unique, proprietary
garlic preparation."

Prof. Tyler urged his students and colleagues "not only to seek the truth but, after finding it, to discard any preconceived ideas which it may reveal as untrue." He encouraged scientific and product integrity, and envisioned a rational herbal healthcare sector that valued the proper evaluation of products' quality, safety and efficacy.

According to Jay Levy, director of sales for Wakunaga of America, the company's focus on research is part of its commitment to promoting public health through herbal medicine. "This mission is accomplished by providing products of the highest quality, which are supported by truthful science and accompanied by helpful consumer information," he said. "We are extremely proud that we now have over 700 peer-reviewed, published papers on the efficacy of Aged Garlic Extract. Our future plans are to continue to invest in the research of herbal products."

In 2012, garlic was the second best-selling herbal dietary supplement in the food, drug, and mass-market channel in the United States with sales of almost $35 million in that channel alone. Kyolic, Levy noted, is responsible for 70 percent of branded garlic sales in the natural foods category in the United States.

"We are deeply honored to receive the Varro E. Tyler Award from the American Botanical Council," said Dahbour, "and will continue Prof. Tyler's passion for botanical research and discovery."

The ABC Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award was announced at the 9th Annual ABC Botanical Celebration and Awards Ceremony on March 6 in Anaheim, Calif. The ABC event occurred during the NEXT Innovation Summit (formerly Nutracon) nutrition, natural products, and dietary supplements conference and Natural Products Expo West. 

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