ABC begins 24th year of nonprofit herbal education

ABC begins 24th year of nonprofit herbal education

The American Botanical Council, a nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs and medicinal plants, celebrates its 24th anniversary. 

From Mark Blumenthal, founder & executive director American Botanical Council:

It was 23 years ago, on November 1, 1988, that I filed the incorporation papers with the Texas Secretary of State to found the American Botanical Council. At that time, ABC was run out of my home (with a handful of employees) and now we have 16 staff members and a beautiful site in Austin, Texas, complete with 30 plus herbal demonstration gardens where members, pharmacy and dietetic interns, and other visitors come to see, work with, and learn more about herbs.

In the beginning, the ABC Board of Trustees consisted of our good friend, economic botanist Jim Duke, PhD, who had previously retired from many years of service at the Agricultural Research Service at the United States Department of Agriculture; the late Prof. Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD, of the College of Pharmacy at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and myself. (The late Prof. Varro E. Tyler, PhD, would join the Board a few years later after retiring from his position of Executive Vice-President of Academic Affairs at Purdue University.)

Today, ABC is still governed by a highly motivated and active Board of Trustees. Also, we are grateful for the service of a diversified Advisory Board that provides ABC with advisory services on research, technical, and educational matters as well as expert peer review for our many publications, including HerbalGram, HerbalEGram, HerbClip, and special publications. We are also deeply grateful to the members of the ABC Director's Circle, a group of friends and allies who assist ABC in development, educational, and marketing opportunities.

While ABC's commitment to providing the highest quality, reliable, responsible, science-based information on the role that herbs and other beneficial plants can play in self care and healthcare remains the same, the ways we do that have grown over the last 24 years. In the beginning, we published HerbalGram as a black and white newsletter, and now it is a full color, glossy magazine, so beautiful and educational that our members eagerly await its arrival in their mailboxes.

We were committed to doing even more for herbal education so we began writing, editing, and publishing books. ABC's first book,The Complete German Commission E Monographs–Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines had a major impact in the medical and integrative health field and was the second most highly ranked medical book in 1998 in a field of 3,500 medical books and related publications published that year. In 2000, ABC published Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. This book has been an essential reference by updating and expanding the most popular herbs in the market. In 2003, ABC publishedThe ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, which was approved as a textbook for classes at several universities.

And we have continued to expand the ways that we provide herbal education—a constantly evolving website filled with useful research and information, including the powerful database HerbMedPro®, monthly electronic communications like HerbClip and HerbalEGram, and exciting new projects that you'll hear more about in the upcoming months.

I want to express my thanks to the many individuals and companies in the herbal community who have supported ABC's unique nonprofit mission, publications, and programs. With their support (and hopefully yours), ABC will continue providing its many educational services to a growing world that is increasingly seeking accurate and reliable information on a wide variety of medicinal herbs and other beneficial plants.


Mark Blumenthal, Founder & executive director American Botanical Council

About the American Botanical Council

Founded in 1988, the American Botanical Council is a leading international nonprofit organization addressing research and educational issues regarding herbs and medicinal plants. ABC’s members include academic researchers and educators; libraries; health professionals and medical institutions; government agencies; members of the herb, dietary supplement, cosmetic, and pharmaceutical industries; journalists; consumers; and others within over 80 countries. The organization occupies a historic 2.5-acre site in Austin, Texas where it publishes the quarterly journal HerbalGram, the monthly e-publication HerbalEGram, HerbClips (summaries of scientific and clinical publications), reference books, and other educational materials. ABC also hosts HerbMedPro, a powerful herbal database, covering scientific and clinical publications on more than 225 herbs, as well as co-produces the “Herbal Insights” segment for Healing Quest, a television series on PBS. ABC is tax-exempt under section 501(c) (3) of the IRS Code. Information: Contact ABC at P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345, Phone: 512-926-4900. Website:

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