“I’ve been affiliated with and have supported ABC since its inception, because I believe in its mission,” said internationally renowned author and integrative medicine pioneer Andrew Weil, MD, the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. Dr. Weil, whose image has twice graced the cover of Time Magazine, said, “As more health professionals are trained to use medicinal plants and other natural therapies, healthcare costs will decrease and health outcomes will improve. Education is required for this to happen, education of the sort that ABC has provided over the past 25 years and I’m sure will continue to provide.”
In the 1980s, when the modern herbal medicine movement was experiencing a revival and consumer awareness and exposure to natural medicine was slowly increasing, ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal saw the need for an authoritative, science-based source of information on botanical medicine to act as a touchstone for herbal education and quality for all aspects of the herbal industry including consumers. The Texan visionary, whose passion for herbal medicine earned him the nickname “Herbal Cowboy,” together with two internationally respected medicinal plant experts—the eminent ethnobotanist James A. Duke, PhD, and the late distinguished pharmacognosist Norman R. Farnsworth, PhD—established the educational non-profit American Botanical Council in 1988.
“I think of Mark as the great herbal diplomat,” said Rosemary Gladstar, herbalist, prolific author, educator and founder of the non-profit conservation organization United Plant Savers. Ms. Gladstar, whom Mr. Blumenthal nicknamed the “Godmother of American Herbalism,” praised his efforts over the past 25 years as being “beautifully, seriously and joyfully effective.”
As ABC celebrated its 25th anniversary in November 2013, the organization’s flagship publication—the quarterly, peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram—commemorated 30 years of herbal education with its 100th issue. Part scientific journal, part consumer magazine, HerbalGram has furthered ABC’s unique non-profit educational mission by disseminating extensively researched, literature-supported, and expertly peer-reviewed information on botanical medicine.