The program, a collaboration of American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi, is supported by over 100 companies, independent laboratories, schools and institutes of natural medicine, media, law firms, and trade associations, including this publication.
In a letter to Mark Blumenthal, ABC founder and executive director, Bradley Moore, PhD, president of ASP and a professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California at San Diego, wrote:
“ASP is making this endorsement in recognition of the laudable goals and purpose of the Program that has helped increase the quantity and quality of scientific information on the relatively widespread problem of adulteration of botanical raw materials, botanical extracts, essential oils, and other plant-derived materials, which are used in dietary supplements and possibly in therapeutic products like non-prescription medicines.
“As a Society, we recognize the paramount importance of the proper identification and authentication of medicinal materials and that they be adulterant free. Such materials are regularly used for research purposes and as ingredients in consumer-based products that promote health and remedy disease.
“We further recognize that the history of pharmacy and pharmacognosy acknowledges many cases in which natural products used for medicinal purposes have been adulterated, either by accident due to inadequate quality control measures, or intentionally by fraudulent sellers. Such practices are contrary to the goals of responsible pharmacy, medicine, and public health education practices.”
Blumenthal welcomed the endorsement, saying: “Those of us working on the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program are especially honored by ASP’s recognition of the value and significance of our work in this vitally important area.”
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).
ASP was founded in 1959 and consists of more than 1,100 pharmacognosists, natural products chemists, botanists, molecular biologists, and other medicinal plant research experts from around the world.
According to AHP Executive Director Roy Upton, "It is wonderful to have the endorsement of ASP, as it was yesteryear's classical pharmacognosists who were primarily responsible for ensuring that adulteration did not occur. Botanical pharmacognosy skills are exactly what are needed to ensure botanical supplement quality control."
Stefan Gafner, PhD, chief science officer of ABC, noted that ASP “has become the most prominent organization of researchers interested in all aspects of natural products research in North America. I believe that it is the first time in the history of ASP that the organization supports a program through an endorsement, and it is a privilege that ASP chose to do so for the Botanical Adulteration Program.”