The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) today announced its 2020 awards, given to individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the continued success of the herbal products industry. AHPA Awards are usually presented in March at Expo West in Anaheim, but this year’s awards will be presented at SupplySide West in Las Vegas currently scheduled to be held at the end of October.
Established in 2006, the annual AHPA Awards acknowledge individuals and organizations that help further AHPA's goal of promoting the responsible commerce of herbs and herbal products.
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)
"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."
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. Wilson is an invaluable asset to AHPA, serving as a member of the AHPA Board of Trustees and as Secretary of the Board. He also stepped up to serve as Board Chair in 2016 when the serving chair needed to step down and chaired the AHPA Tea Committee when it was launched.
“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 Herbalist & Alchemist CEO Beth Lambert who nominated Lau for the award.
Verdure Sciences is being recognized with 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. Verdure Sciences consistently strives for advancement in the herbal supplement industry through a variety of innovative corporate responsibility initiatives focused on sustainability, traceability, and industry collaboration.
Verdure Sciences strives to surpass expectations of cooperate responsibility and demonstrates innovative activities 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.
Verdure also promotes collaboration and shared knowledge within the industry, partnering with a large network to further a shared commitment to increasing awareness, education, and supporting the herbal supplement industry.
The Appalachian Beginning Forest Farmer Coalition (ABFFC) is being named the Herbal Insight Award winner. 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, The coalition’s collective aim is to increase 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.
The coalition has established an inclusive organization that works to educate, train, and support beginning forest farmers; and improve forest farm inventory and medicinal plant habitat management services for beginning forest farmers.
“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.”
Beloved naturopath, herbal pioneer and organic farmer Dr. Ed Alstat was awarded the AHPA’s special Visionary Award posthumously. Dr. Alstat 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.
Ed'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 was a true pioneer. He studied and made available reprints of original texts of the Eclectic physicians, and was the first to bring to market many original herbal formulas cited there. He was also the first to market grain-free organic alcohol extracts, alcohol-free extracts and freeze-dried herbal capsules and powders. He was also one of the first to have his Oregon farm certified organic by the Oregon Tilth.
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.