Mark Blumenthal Deemed a "Natural Legacy" by NFM

The Natural Foods Merchandiser (NFM) recently honored American Botanical Council (ABC) Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal as its 2008 Natural Legacy, an award bestowed to leaders with high levels of experience and dedication to the natural products community. This award is bestowed twice a year at the Natural Products East and Natural Products West trade shows, and this year’s award is accompanied by an in-depth story on Blumenthal available in the March 2008 issue of NFM.1

“Mark was selected because he’s probably one of the most respected men in the herbal industry,” said Marty Traynor Spencer, the executive editor of NFM (e-mail, February 29, 2008). “He has influenced so many people and done so much for the industry.”

Freelance writer Vicky Uhland spent enough time with Blumenthal to produce 6 pages of coverage in the current NFM issue in an article that details many of Blumenthal’s life accomplishments. Uhland introduces the readers to Blumenthal’s current work as executive director of ABC, the editor-in-chief and publisher of HerbalGram, as well as a guiding source of herbal education -- all part of a life story that Uhland calls “as big and heartwarming as all of Texas.”1

“It truly is an honor for me to be considered a Natural Legacy,” said Blumenthal. “For so many decades, our community has worked to provide natural solutions for humanity and the planet, based on traditional values and scientific substantiation. I am grateful to all those with whom I have worked and to those with whom I will work in the future as we proceed in our mission to create health and wellness in many sectors.”

In her article, Uhland details Blumenthal's extensive career in promoting the importance of herbs, beginning in the early 1970s with his herb distribution company called Sweethardt Herbs as well as HotChaCha!, the first company to make all-natural, salt-free salsa. She further expands upon Blumenthal’s time as an herbal consultant, as well as the newsletter he started in 1977, Herb News, which later became HerbalGram in 1983: “I wanted to create the Scientific American of herbs, with high production values and peer-reviewed, highly referenced content,” Blumenthal told Uhland.1 She also discusses the founding of ABC in 1988 and Blumenthal’s appearance on more than 400 radio and television shows to serve as a spokesperson for the industry: “As far as the herb business and herb world goes Mark has become the most influential person in the country in interfacing with regulators and the media, ”Ed Smith, founder of Herb Pharm, told Uhland.1

Blumenthal's dedication to the scientific support and expansion of the natural products community has been recognized worldwide, from being recognized in 2001 as one of Natural Health magazine’s “Hall of Fame” (“Blumenthal opened America’s eyes to the healing power of herbs”), to an extensive cover story in Whole Foods Magazine in 2006.

“Mark is my swan song,” wrote Uhland, explaining that this would be her final Natural Legacy article for NFM. “I've really enjoyed doing the stories and getting to know so many great people... And how fitting to end with someone as entertaining as Mark!”

The full article can be found at as well as additional information about NFM and the Natural Legacy Award.

NFM is a publication of New Hope Natural Media, a division of Penton Media that also publishes the Nutrition Business Journal, Functional Ingredients, and Delicious Living Magazine. New Hope also produces the natural products industry’s largest trade shows, Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East. Natural Products Expo West education and tradeshow will take place March 13-16, 2008, in Anaheim, California.

1Uhland V. Herbal Cowboy. Natural Food Merchandiser March 2008;29(3) 38, 42, 44, 46, 48, 50.

About the American Botanical Council

Established in 1988, the American Botanical Council (ABC) is the leading nonprofit, member-based international organization working to educate consumers, healthcare professionals, researchers, educators, industry, and the media on the safe and effective use of herbs and medicinal plants products. ABC is located on a 2.5 acre site in Austin, Texas where it publishes HerbalGram, a peer-reviewed quarterly journal; HerbClip, a twice-monthly scientific literature review service; and HerbalEGram, a monthly electronic newsletter. ABC is also the publisher of The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, a continuing education and reference book that contains extensive monographs on the safety and efficacy of 29 popular herbs as well as The Identification of Medicinal Plants: A Handbook of Morphology of Botanicals in Commerce, a guide to the macroscopic identification of botanical materials for industry quality control laboratories that ABC published in cooperation with the Missouri Botanical Garden. More information is available at

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