The first issue of HerbalGram was printed in 1983, and the ABC founded in 1988 to help the publication make the transition from newsletter to magazine. In that time, ABC has become an award-winning nonprofit with members in more than 80 countries around the world.
Mark Blumenthal, ABC Founder and Executive Director, said: “When Rob McCaleb and I first started writing HerbalGram as a quarterly newsletter back in 1983, it never occurred to me how it would look and what impact it would have 30 years later.
“After working on it as a volunteer labor of love on nights and weekends, I eventually wanted to see it evolve as sort of a Scientific American of herbs, replete with color photography, authoritative articles, and other aspects of the publication that could provide credibility to the proposition that the emerging scientific research was frequently able to document and support the general safety and many health benefits of numerous popular and yet-to-become popular herbs,” continued Blumenthal.
“HerbalGram was the kernel of the founding and development of the American Botanical Council, and its many unique educational publications and programs. I truly love producing HerbalGram and, with ABC's great staff, I hope to live long enough and be active enough to help produce another 100 issues!”
The publication was originally published with the financial support of the newly formed American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), of which Blumenthal was a founding board member. The first HerbalGram was an eight-page, black-and-white, stapled-at-the-spine newsletter. In 1992, HerbalGram #28 became the first full-glossy, four-color issue, and showcased the first botanical photograph to grace the magazine’s cover: Harvard’s glass flowers. By 1999, HerbalGram had expanded to 82 pages with an additional 32-page book catalog, closely resembling the magazine as it is produced today.
HerbalGram is now a leading publication in the botanical community.
Loren Israelsen, President of the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA), congratulated Blumenthal and the ABC for reaching the milestones.
“Mark’s vision and ABC’s steadfast and enduring message about responsible, research-based botanical medicine has grown and resonates with supporters of natural medicine around the world,” said Israelsen. “The UNPA membership and staff look forward to ABC’s leadership and contributions for many more years to come.
“I still have the check I signed while at Nature’s Way to support the establishment of ABC. Who knew that 25 years later, the global botanical industry would still seek out ABC as the go-to source for facts, reasoned opinions and scientific oversight,” he added.
“HerbalGram has become the National Geographic of the botanical community,” noted Israelsen. “Each issue contains unparalleled photography and authoritative yet engaging articles—all peer reviewed by the leading experts of our time.”
John Beutler, PhD, associate scientist for the National Cancer Institute, said: “HerbalGram and ABC have been vital links between the scientific world, herbalists, and consumers thanks to Mark's persistent networking with everyone involved.
“In an arena with plenty of nonsense, HerbalGram has brought good information to people in an appealing format.”