Natural Foods Merchandiser


HABA Employees, Certify Yourselves
The American Botanical Council is now offering a program for retailers to become ABC Herbal Information Specialists. The online program covers aspects of the herbal industry such as history, regulation, trends, science and details on 29 commonly used herbs, including dosage, uses and adverse side effects. Upon successful completion, participants receive a diploma, free access to monographs on 29 common herbs that may be distributed to the public and a window decal for the store indicating that an ABC-certified HIS is on staff. For more information, contact Gayle Engels, American Botanical Council, 512.926.4900.

Vitamin D for MS Prevention
Women who took a multivitamin with vitamin D were 40 percent less likely to get multiple sclerosis than those who didn?t take the supplement, according to research in the January issue of the journal Neurology. Because the incidence of MS goes up the further people live from the equator, scientists believed that sunlight might have something to do with the disease (the body makes vitamin D when exposed to sunlight). Of the190,000 subjects in the study, those who had the highest vitamin D intake—at least 400 IU daily—had the lowest chances of developing MS. The women who obtained their vitamin D from food did not have the same protection from the disease.


Growing Controversy Over Wild Herbs
New Scientist magazine, previewing a study to be published later this year, reports that as many as two-thirds of the 50,000 medicinal plants in use globally are harvested from the wild and suggests that 4,000 to 10,000 species may now be threatened with extinction. Alan Hamilton, a plant specialist with the World Wildlife Fund, wrote the study, which suggests the world market for herbal remedies is worth more than $16 billion. Plantlife International, a conservation group, urged the herb industry to do more to encourage sustainable practices, including developing a logo to mark products that are cultivated.

American Botanical Council Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal points to the many efforts that are currently under way by organizations and industry to address these issues. He noted ABC's involvement in the Medicinal Plant Working Group, a coalition of organizations, governmental agencies and industry concerned with the development of sustainable cultivation and harvesting practices for popular herbs. He also discussed efforts by many companies to find cultivation alternatives to herbs that were formerly wildcrafted only.


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