Herb quality consortium launches ‘Botanical Adulterants Monitor’ focusing on prevention of herbal product adulteration


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Black cohosh has been the subject of an in-depth review by the Botanical Adulterants Program
Black cohosh has been the subject of an in-depth review by the Botanical Adulterants Program

Related tags Adulterant

A new e-newsletter from a consortium of nonprofit herbal advocacy and research organizations will provide information related to the prevention and detection of herbal adulteration, quality assurance challenges facing the global botanical products community.

The first issue of the “Botanical Adulterants Monitor”,​ which is available HERE​, will also cover the work of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, a collaboration of American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi.

The program is supported by over 125 companies, independent laboratories, schools and institutes of natural medicine, media, law firms, and trade associations, including this publication.

“The purpose of our Program is primarily educational,” ​said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC, and founder and director of the Program. “There are numerous publications on new analytical methods, recent regulatory actions, and a wide variety of workshops, seminars, webinars, and other educational resources that relate to botanical ingredient identity, authenticity, and ways that botanical materials and their extracts are accidentally or intentionally adulterated. Such adulteration results in cheapening the end product and reducing the likelihood that consumers will receive the benefits that they are seeking and expecting.

“The ‘Botanical Adulterants Monitor’ newsletter is a valuable way for people in the botanical community to be informed about new developments in areas related to ensuring the authenticity of botanical materials used in herbal products.”

Accidental and intentional adulteration, and contamination

So far, the collaboration has published in-depth reviews on the issue of adulteration in black cohosh​ (HerbalGram, ​2013, 98:32-51), grapefruit seed extracts​ (HerbalGram​, 2012, 94:62-66), bilberry​ (HerbalGram​, 2012, 96:64-73), skullcap​ (HerbalGram​, 2012, 93:34-41), and a historical overview of the adulteration dilemma​ (HerbalGram​, 2011, 92:42-57).

The Monitor will be edited by Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC’s CSO. In his introduction to the first issue, Dr. Gafner states: “Our goal for this newsletter is to provide newly available information on issues surrounding accidental and intentional adulteration — and, to a lesser extent, the equally important problem of contamination — as reported by regulatory agencies or in published studies. 

“As such, this newsletter is intended to be a helpful resource for members of industry, scientists at academic institutions interested in authentication of herbal materials and the detection of adulteration, as well as health professionals, herbalists, and other stakeholders.”

To register for the free-access newsletter, please click here​.

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