Botanicals Authentication Conference: State-of-the-Science

Bastyr University Campus
Kenmore, Washington
August 23-25, 2007


  1. Plant Identification: Gross Anatomy, Microscopic, Genetic, and Germplasm Maintenance and Cultivation
  2. Identification by Chemical Methods
  3. Bioassays
  4. General Issues in Botanical Medicine Research: Reference Materials, Documentation, Record Keeping, Contamination

Register Online

Bastyr University is holding a botanical conference to evaluate the state of the science on authentication of botanical supplements.

Purpose of the Conference:

The purpose of the conference is to evaluate the state of the science in the area of botanical identification as it pertains to industrial quality assurance, and the documentation and characterization of botanical constituents (plant material, botanical extracts) for use in pre-clinical and clinical research.

The conference will:

  • Enumerate and describe current approaches to botanical constituent identification.
  • Identify the strengths and weaknesses in the methodology currently used for authentication of botanicals.
  • Indicate which areas constitute "settled" science and provide reliable tools for botanical identification.
  • Identify gaps in the methodology and recommend fruitful areas of research that can fill the gaps.

The objective of the conference is to collect the perspectives and overviews provided by the participants along with their recommendations for future research directions and to publish them as a 'white paper' and to publish the proceedings as a special edition of a peer reviewed scientific journal.

Conference Format

Day 1:

Opening remarks, introduction of participants and discussion of issues facing authentication of botanicals. Following will be the key speakers. Discussion will follow.

  • Joseph M. Betz, Office of Dietary Supplements/NIH: The importance of affirming plant identity in biomedical research on botanicals: a scientific and ethical imperative
  • Norman Farnsworth, PhD, Research Professor, Dept. of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, University of Illinois at Chicago:Overview of the status of the science, and future directions for the area of botanical authentication.
  • Virender Sodhi, MD (Ayurved), ND, Medical Director, Ayurvedic and Naturopathic clinic, Belevue, Washington: Authentication of Botanicals – status of science for Ayurvedic herbs
  • Leanna Standish PhD, ND, LAc, Research Professor, Bastyr University: Authentication of botanicals used in clinical trials: A case study of medicinal mushrooms
  • Yung-Chi Cheng, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, Yale School of Medicine: Authentication of botanicals used in Traditional Chinese Medicine
  • Edward M. Croom, Jr. PhD, President, Croomia, Oxford, Mississippi: Ginkgo: an example for plant identity- from field to final product.
  • Mary Hardy, MD, Director of the Center for Integrative Medicine, UCLA: Implications of botanicals authentication to clinical trials
  • Roy Upton, Herbalist and Executive Director, Herbal Pharmacopoeia: Authoritative Resources for Botanical Authentication
  • Lizbeth Adams, PhD, Director of the Office of Research Integrity, Bastyr University: Ethical issues surrounding the use of botanicals

Day 2:

There will be three parallel sessions on:

  1. Plant Identification
  2. Identification by Chemical Methods
  3. Bioassays

Each session will have a chair/moderator, presentations by participants, followed by a discussion session.

Plant Identification:

  • Reinhard Laenger, PhD, Austrian Medicines Agency: Botanical systematics, morphology and anatomy of medicinal plants and crude drugs
  • Wendy Applequist, PhD, Asst. Curator, Missouri Botanical Gardens: Potential and limitations of macro-morphological identification of plants
  • James Neal-Kababick, Director, Flora Research Laboratories: Quality control in the manufacturing of botanical products
  • George Ziobro, PhD, Research Chemist, FDA: Microscopic identification of extraneous materials in botanicals
  • Robin DiPasquale, ND, Assoc. Professor and Chair of Botanical Medicine, Bastyr University: Phytotaxonomy and chemotaxonomy as predictors of clinical application
  • Barbara Hellier, MS, Horticultural Curator, USDA: Germ plasm maintenance of medicinals

Identification by Chemical Methods:

  • Ikhlas A.Khan, PhD, Asst. Director of National Center for Natural Products Research, University of Mississippi: Chemical fingerprinting for authentication of botanicals
  • Paula Brown, MS, Principal Research Scientist, British Columbia Institute of Technology: Herbal evaluation and analysis for product quality
  • Peter Hylands, PhD, Pharmaceutical Chemist and Visiting Professor, King’s College, London: Innovative chemometric and metabolomic approaches for authentication of botanicals
  • Hwee Ling Koh, PhD, Asst. Professor of Pharmacy, National University of Singapore: Rapid screening for drug adulterants in complex herbal matrices
  • David Y. Lee, PhD, Assoc. Professor and Director of Bio-organic and Natural Products Laboratory, Harvard University: Botanical identification by chemical methods
  • Gowsala Sivam , PhD, Professor of Chemistry, Bastyr University: Chemical fingerprinting of botanicals using coulometric array detector
  • Jana Hildreth, CEO & Technical Director, Blaze Science Industries, California: Analytical challenges in testing of botanicals: role of authentic reference materials
  • Mark C. Roman, PhD, President Tampa Bay Analytical Research, Inc.: Validation of qualitative identification methods for botanicals: issues and approaches
  • James Harnly, PhD, USDA: Application of a standardized screening method for phenolic compounds to botanical materials
  • Eike Reich, PhD, CAMAG Laboratories, Switzerland: Identification of botanicals using High-Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography (HPTLC)

Biological Assays:

During this session, scientists who are experts in biological assays (assays used to quantitatively measure the biological activity of plants) will work together with natural medicine physicians and come to a consensus on the bioassays that can be used to authenticate botanicals. The session will include a short presentation of the currently used methods followed by discussion. The functional activity categories will include antibiotic, cytotoxic/apoptotic, immunomodulatory, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and mutagenic activity.

  • David Hockenbery, MD, Member, Clinical Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer, Research Center: Apoptosis assays for assessing cytotoxicity
  • Gail Mahady, PhD, Asst. Professor and Director of the Clinical Pharmacognosy Laboratory, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago: Emerging bio-assay technologies for authentication of botanicals
  • Judy Bolten, PhD, Professor and Head of Dept. of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago: Bio-assays for anti-cancer botanicals
  • Steve Given, DAOM, LAc, Assoc. Dean, School of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Bastyr University: Applicability of functional assays for traditional Chinese medicinal herbs
  • Cynthia Wenner, PhD, Assoc. Research Professor, Bastyr University: Immuno-modulatory assays for botanicals
  • Jeff Novack, PhD, Professor of Pharmacology, Bastyr University: Current state of research on bio- assays for botanicals authentication
  • Leanna Standish, PhD, ND, LAc, Research Professor, Bastyr University: Authentication by bio-assays: implications for clinical trials
  • Eric Yarnell, ND, Asst Professor of Botanical Medicine, Bastyr University: Applicability of functional assays to western clinical herbal medicine
  • Virender Sodhi, MD (Ayurved), ND and Shailinder Sodhi, MD (Ayurved), ND, Clinicians and Adjunct Faculty, Bastyr University: Applicability of functional assays for authentication of Ayurvedic medicinal herbs
  • Donald Messner, PhD, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Bastyr University: Proteomics as a comprehensive and broad-based solution to the botanical bio-assay/ bio-marker challenge

Day 3:

This will be a general session for setting standards based on the outcome of the parallel sessions held on day two. Moderators of the three sessions will lead the discussions. In addition, there will be discussion on reference materials, documentation and record keeping.

Register Online

Organizing Committee:

  • Gowsala Sivam, PhD, Committee Chair, Professor, Bastyr University
  • Tim Callahan, PhD, VP For Research & Collaboration, Bastyr University
  • Jana Hildreth, CEO & Technical Director, Blaze Science Industries
  • Leanna Standish, ND, PhD, LAc, Professor, Bastyr University
  • Joseph M. Betz, PhD, Office of Dietary Supplements/NIH

Funding for this conference was made possible (in part) by Grant Number 1R133AT004365 from the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine and the Office of Dietary Supplement. The views expressed in written conference materials or publications and by speakers and moderators do not necessarily reflect the official policies of the Department of Health and Human Services; nor does mention by trade names, commercial practices, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington is an accredited institution, internationally recognized as a pioneer in natural health arts and sciences education. Founded in 1978 as the John Bastyr College of Natural Medicine, the University integrates the pursuit of scientific knowledge with the wisdom of ancient healing methods and traditional cultures from around the world. Today, Bastyr is the largest university for natural health arts and sciences in the United States, combining a multidisciplinary curriculum with leading edge research and clinical training.

The University offers bachelor of science degrees in exercise science and wellness, health psychology, herbal sciences and nutrition. Graduate programs include naturopathic medicine, acupuncture and Oriental medicine, nutrition and clinical health psychology, and applied behavioral science. Student clinical training takes place at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in Seattle's Fremont/Wallingford neighborhood and at many external sites throughout the region. For additional information about Bastyr University and its teaching clinic, Bastyr Center for Natural Health, visit or

Bastyr University is located adjacent to St. Edward State Park. View a map and driving directions to campus.

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