American Botanical Council Announces Award Winners

(Austin, TX, March 27, 2005). The American Botanical Council (ABC) today announced the recipients of its new awards: The James A. Duke Botanical Literature Award and the Norman R. Farnsworth Botanical Research Award. The Essential Guide to Herbal Safety by Simon Mills and Kerry Bone (Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, 2005) is the recipient of the Duke Award and Dr. Joseph M. Betz, Director of the Dietary Supplements Methods and Reference Materials Program at the Office of Dietary Supplements, is the recipient of the Farnsworth Award. The awards were presented at the American Botanical Celebration banquet held in conjunction with Nutracon on March 23, 2006 in Anaheim, California. The Awards are to be given annually, commencing in 2006, by ABC, an independent nonprofit research and education organization headquartered in Austin, Texas.

The James A. Duke Botanical Literature Award honors the singular, outstanding contribution by a book to the knowledge and understanding of medicinal and aromatic plants. Such recognition may result from scholarship, comprehensiveness, or relevance to and utility for the herb and phytomedicine movement. The award is made in the name of James A. Duke, PhD, Economic Botanist (USDA, ret.), botanical consultant, author, and a founding member of the ABC Board of Trustees.

The Norman R. Farnsworth Botanical Research Award honors the outstanding effort of an individual or research group that has made a significant contribution to or advancement of knowledge of medicinal plants or other natural products. Such recognition may result from exceptional scientific research, achievements in education or publications, or a significant or groundbreaking development in the fields of pharmacognosy, medicinal plant research, phytomedicine, phytochemistry, ethnobotany and/or related scientific endeavors. The award is made in the name of Prof. Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD, Research Professor of Pharmacognosy and Senior University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and a founding member of the ABC Board of Trustees.

“Dr. James Duke and Prof. Norman Farnsworth are two of the most respected medicinal plant scientists in the world,” said ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal. “They have contributed immeasurably to the existing knowledge about herbs and medicinal plants. We at ABC considered it most appropriate to establish these new achievement awards in their names and to include them in the selection process. Our congratulations to the recipients for their excellent work in the world of botanical science.”

About the Award Recipients

The issue of herb safety has become front-page news in recent years. While only a few notable herbs have received widespread publicity, the prevailing evidence supports the relative safety of most of the herbs sold in North America as teas and dietary supplements. However, even the safest herbs must be used responsibly. Because these herbs and their preparations are pharmacologically active, there are certain instances when their use should be restricted or altogether avoided by people with certain medical conditions or those who are taking specific pharmaceutical drugs. The Essential Guide to Herb Safety provides a rational and well-referenced approach to determining the relative safety of many of the botanicals in the marketplace and how these herbs can be used responsibly by consumers. As such this book meets a compelling need of health professionals, is an excellent resource for those in the herb and dietary supplement industry, and provides an important public service to the consumer. There were numerous excellent books published in 2005 that were contenders for this award, but The Essential Guide to Herb Safety contained the scholarship, the scope, and the relevant applications to the needs of the herb community to merit this award.

Kerry Bone was an experienced research and industrial chemist before studying herbal medicine full-time in the UK where he graduated from the College of Phytotherapy and joined the National Institute of Medical Herbalists. He is a practicing herbalist (more than 20 years experience), co-founder and head of Research and Development at MediHerb (an herb manufacturing company), and Principal of the Australian College of Phytotherapy. Working for the Australian College of Phytotherapy, and in conjunction with the University of New England where he is an adjunct professor, Kerry has developed a Masters degree program in clinical herbal medicine. He is a frequent contributor to various journals and has written four books including the best-selling text Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy which he co-authored with Simon Mills. Kerry is a regular presenter at seminars and conferences in Australia, New Zealand, USA, South Africa and the UK.

Simon Mills is a Cambridge University graduate in medical sciences who also completed the four-year professional training provided in the UK by the 140 year-old National Institute of Medical Herbalists. He has practiced as a medical herbalist since 1977. In 1987 he co-founded the Centre for Complementary Health Studies at the University of Exeter, probably the first university unit dedicated to studying therapeutic options outside the conventional medical curriculum. Since January 1997 he has been secretary of the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP), the major European body working to ensure quality, safety, and efficacy for herbal medicinal products in collaboration with European medicines regulators; he previously coordinated the first international research program on herbal medicines funded by the European Commission entitled “Determining European Standards for the Safe and Effective Use of Phytomedicines”.

One of the major challenges facing medicinal plant scientists, health professionals, health writers, and members of industry, is how to interpret information in the scientific and medical literature related to herbs and medicinal plant preparations. All too often, published papers fail to accurately and adequately identify the botanical material used in a study or referenced in a case report. In addition, within the herb industry, determining the proper identity and qualities of botanical materials is of primary importance in issues of quality control, good manufacturing practices, herb safety and clinical efficacy. In order to help ensure proper identity, validated analytical methods must be established for each botanical and/or botanical preparation. This has been one of the primary areas of concern in the herb industry for over a decade. Dr. Joseph M. Betz stands out as a leader in this field. As the volunteer General Referee for Plant Toxins and later, the General Referee for Dietary Supplements at the Association of Official Analytical Chemists (AOAC), he helped establish the framework for the development of validating the analytical methods to be used for botanicals. Now in his role at the Office of Dietary Supplements, where he is the Director of the Dietary Supplements Methods and Reference Materials Program, he is the point man in the government’s attempts to foster and fund efforts to validate analytical methods and reference materials so that the analyses used by various parties are accurate, consistent and meaningful. Dr. Betz, a pharmacognosist by training, and a man committed to scientific research on medicinal plants, is eminently qualified and most deserving for this award.

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 plant products. Located on a 2.5 acre site in Austin, Texas, ABC is the publisher of HerbalGram, a peer-reviewed quarterly journal and The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs, a continuing education and reference book, which contains extensive monographs on the safety and efficacy of 29 popular herbs. More information is available at


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