AHPA was saddened to learn of the passing of James (Jim) A. Duke, Ph.D, a leading authority on herbal medicine who made invaluable contributions to the herbal products community.
Jim helped introduce herbal medicine to countless people through his books, research, lectures, poetry, music and his botanical garden, The Green Farmacy Garden, where AHPA conducts annual HerbWalks.
"Beyond Dr. Duke's invaluable contributions to the herbal industry, he was a humble man who personified the Southern gentleman," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. "His sincere passion for understanding how humans used plants as medicine to promote health and well-being helped numerous individuals improve their quality of life using herbs and botanicals. Jim's passing will be mourned by the herbal community, but his work and legacy will not be forgotten and will help future generations benefit from herbal medicine."
James A. Duke, Ph.D (1929-2017)
Dr. Duke was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1929 and was a bluegrass fiddler who performed at the Grande Ole Opry. He earned a degree in botany in 1955 and a doctorate in botany in 1961 from from the University of North Carolina. He served three years at the Missouri Botanical Garden, seven years at the Battelle Memorial Institute in Panama, Colombia and Columbus,Ohio, as an ecologist. For 27 years he served as an economic botanist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) before "retiring" in 1995.
Before leaving USDA, Dr. Duke published his phytochemical and ethnobotanical databases online at USDA (https://phytochem.nal.usda.gov/phytochem/), which now includes more than 80,000 plant species. It is one of the most frequently visited sites on the USDA website.
Throughout his life, Dr. Duke pursued his personal interest in medicinal plants and helped introduce herbal medicine to mainstream America. He wrote more than 30 books on medicinal plants, including the best-seller The Green Pharmacy. He also served as a distinguished herbal lecturer at the Maryland University of Integrated Health.