ABC’s Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal gave three presentations at two scientific conferences in British Columbia, Canada in late May. At the ninth annual meeting of the Natural Health Products Research Society (NHPRS) of Canada, Mark spoke on the topic “Quality Control Challenges in Dietary Supplements: Accidental and Intentional Adulteration of Botanical Raw Materials, Herbal Extracts, and Essential Oils,” which included explanation of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program and its publications thus far in HerbalGram.
This is a topic of particular interest to Mark and ABC; Mark has spoken on this subject at numerous industry, science, professional, and consumer conferences in the past several years in order to help the industry, researchers, and other stakeholders in the natural medicine community to know more about some of the problems associated with accidental and intentional adulteration of botanical raw materials, botanical extracts, and essential oils used as ingredients in consumer products, including dietary supplements, cosmetics, and other products.
Mark also spoke at the the NHPRS Gala on the subject of Health, Healthcare, Herbs & Dietary Supplements and Alternative Medicine, as seen through cartoons. NHPRS is an organization of researchers who scientifically investigate natural health products (as they are called in Canada; dietary ingredients and dietary supplements in the United States), including botanicals and other plant-derived materials.
On May 26th, Mark spoke at the 2012 International Academic Conference on Phytopharmaceutical Analysis, which is also billed as the 3rd Annual Academic Meeting of the Committee of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Pharmaceutical Analysis, World Federation of Chinese Medicine Society. The conference was held in the beautiful port city of Vancouver, British Columbia. At this conference, Mark’s topic was “Health Benefits of Popular Herbal Supplements in the US Market: Evidence from Systematic Reviews & Meta-Analyses of Controlled Clinical Trials.”
In this presentation, Mark briefly reviewed more than 20 systematic reviews and/or meta-analyses of controlled human clinical trials, the results of which either strongly suggest or actually confirm the therapeutic benefits of numerous popular herbs sold in the North American market. His thesis is that despite the dismissal of the health benefits of many popular herbs by some critics, citing highly publicized clinical trials with negative findings, there are positive clinical trial data actually supporting the self-medication uses and even clinical medicine uses of many of these herbs, as documented by the results of systematic reviews and meta-analyses on these trials.
As many ABC members are aware, Mark spends a great deal of his time traveling and lecturing at conferences, both nationally and internationally. His speeches in Canada were the third and fourth speeches he has given in recent weeks. Mark gave a presentation on problems associated with the accidental and intentional adulteration of herbal raw materials and botanical extracts at Virgo Publications’ SupplySide Marketplace in New York City, and he presented an overview of the herb market and herb issues at the United Natural Product Alliance’s annual meeting in Park City, Utah. Last year Mark gave a total of 61 speeches at a wide variety of conferences, symposia, conventions, and meetings for scientists, health professionals, industry members, and consumers.