The bulletins provide information about adulteration of plant materials that have not been covered by the Program, for example grape (Vitis vinifera) seed extract, or that complement previously published reviews, for example bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) fruit extract and skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora) herb.
“The Botanical Adulterants Bulletins represent a new phase of the Botanical Adulterants Program,” explained Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC and director of the Program. “Compared to our extensive Laboratory Guidance Documents, the Bulletins are a more rapid means of confirming suspected and/or alleged adulteration and will become one of the key publications of the Program’s educational activities.”
The goal of the Bulletins is to provide accounts of ongoing issues related to botanical identity and adulteration, thus allowing quality control personnel and lab technicians in the herbal medicine, botanical ingredient, and dietary supplement industries to be informed on adulteration problems that are apparently widespread and/or that may imply safety concerns.
The Bulletins begin with general information on the plant species, followed by data on cultivation, harvest, and market size. The main section covers known adulterants, frequency of adulteration (when known), possible therapeutic and/or safety issues with the adulterating species, and analytical approaches to detect the adulterant. As with all publications in the Program, the bulletins are freely accessible on the Program’s website.
“The data included in the Botanical Adulterants Bulletins are predominantly from published reports on adulteration of a particular plant species or botanical extract,” said Stefan Gafner, PhD, ABC chief science officer and Botanical Adulterants Program technical director. “However, in some instances, industry companies and analytical laboratories have been forthcoming with unpublished information in their particular area of expertise, adding valuable information to the knowledge already published in the peer-reviewed literature, thus making each Bulletin a more informative and relevant document.”
In keeping with the Program’s tradition of extensive peer-review of its publications, a total of 17 expert reviewers provided input on the first three bulletins, with each bulletin being reviewed by at least 13 experts.
The botanical adulterants program is a collaboration of the 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 175 companies, independent laboratories, schools and institutes of natural medicine, media, law firms, and trade associations, including this publication.