The American Herbal Products Association announces 2020 Awards winners

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

The American Herbal Products Association announces 2020 Awards winners

Related tags Herbal products Ahpa

Wilson Lau, Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition, Verdure Sciences, and Edward Alstat have been named this year’s AHPA Award winners for outstanding contributions to the herbal products industry.

Established in 2006, the annual AHPA Awards are usually presented in March during Expo West in Anaheim, but this year’s awards will be presented at SupplySide West in Las Vegas, which is currently scheduled to be held at the end of October.

“Every year, AHPA recognizes the hard work and dedication of individuals and organizations that go above and beyond to ensure the continued success of the herbal industry. AHPA and the entire herbal products industry have greatly benefited from their expertise and passion for herbs,” ​said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “These awards are a small token of our gratitude for their tireless efforts.”

2020 AHPA Awards

• Herbal Hero Award: Wilson Lau, Nuherbs
• Herbal Industry Leadership Award: Verdure Sciences
• Herbal Insight Award: Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC)
• Visionary Award: Edward K. Alstat (posthumous)

Herbal Hero

Wilson Lau was given the Herbal Hero Award for his significant contributions to the AHPA Board of Trustees and member committees. Lau is Vice President of Nuherbs and is the third generation of his family to lead the Chinese herb ingredient company founded as a pharmacy in Oakland, California’s Chinatown to provide TCM herbs to his grandmother Dr. Bing Yin Lee’s patients.

Beth Lambert, CEO of Herbalist & Alchemist, nominated Lau for the award. “In his senior management role with the third-generation family owned Chinese herb company, Nuherbs, Wilson helps the company set an important example in following best practices with a long-term view while staying true to traditional use of herbs, from sustainability practices to robust testing to ensure identity, purity and potency,”​ said Lambert.

Industry Leadership

Indiana-based Verdure Sciences received the Industry Leadership Award for “setting an example of outstanding business practices and working to move the industry forward above and beyond normal business practices”,​ said AHPA.

Verdure strives to exceed normal business standards and present as an industry leader in what corporate responsibility can look like, specifically in the herbal products industry.

Verdugration, Verdure’s social responsibility initiative, provides a framework for leading global efforts and global stewardship. Specifically, in 2019, as part of the initiative, Verdure helped plant 2,000 Boswellia serrata​ tree saplings in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh to meet increasing consumer demand, help promote the growth of a protected and dwindling tree species, offer traceability and support sustainability efforts, as well as support the local community and continue to foster both new and previously forged relationships.

Herbal Insight

The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC) is this year’s recipient of the Herbal Insight Award.

The Coalition is a network of forestland owners, universities, and governmental and non-governmental organizations​ that share a common goal of improving agroforestry production opportunities and farming capabilities among forest farmers, and increasing awareness of forest-grown medicinal plants through education and relationship building, and support conservation efforts through stewardship of existing plant populations and forest farming of these native botanicals.

“ABFFC assists beginning forest farmers in navigating the production, processing and marketing of forest farmed medicinal plants in the Appalachian Region,”​ said Holly Chittum, project scientist at AHPA, who nominated the coalition for the award.

“It supports regional partnership and network development and offers educational programming, publications, and videos for forest farmers and technical service providers. It also builds capacity by tapping into the leadership qualities and leadership assets among coalition members to refine production techniques in an evolving forest grown market.”


Dr. Ed Alstat was posthumously named the 2020 AHPA Visionary Award. The naturopath, herbal pioneer and organic farmer passed in early 2018 and will be remembered for his involvement in the promotion of herbs in the naturopathic and herbal communities.

While working as a pharmacist in California in the 1970s, Dr. Alstat developed an interest in the promotion of health and healing through nature. He embraced the naturopathic community and, after becoming fascinated by the Eclectic school of herbal medicine utilizing botanicals native to America, founded the Eclectic Institute in the National University of Natural Medicine (NUNM) on-campus medicinary in 1982.

Dr Alstat’s Eclectic Institute herbal products were popular with naturopaths and herb enthusiasts and the enterprise quickly outgrew the space at NUNM. Dr. Alstat bought a large organic farm and rural campus in Sandy, OR and he regularly opened the Eclectic farm and campus for naturopaths and others to further their study of herbs and natural remedies.

“Dr. Alstat’s professional contributions are evident, but just as important are his personal interactions and openness to sharing the beauty and simple pleasures in life with all of those he encountered on his journey,”​ stated AHPA in a release.

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