Archive March 2024

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Herbs in History: Tamarind & Celery

March 27, 2024

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In an effort to preserve and share the fascinating histories of medicinal plants and herbs that have been used around the world for ages, the AHPA Foundation for Education and Research on Botanicals (AHPA-ERB Foundation) is honored to partner with Alain Touwaide, Ph.D., and Emanuela Appetiti of the Institute for the Preservation of Medical Traditions to launch the Herbs in History project in 2022.

The latest entries delve into the histories of tamarind and celery. Preview the entries below and visit Herbs in History online to read more.

Tamarind (Tamarindus indica L.)

All roads lead to...

Whereas all roads lead to Rome in some parts of the world, in India, “no road does not end at the base of the tamarind tree” (Tamarindus indica L.) according to Tamil novelist Sundara Ramaswamy in Tamarind History (1966). | Read more...



Celery (Apium graveolens L.)


If there is an easy growing and sociable plant, it probably is celery (Apium graveolens L.) (Apiaceae, ex Umbelliferae). A native from Macaronesia to Western Himalaya, from Europe to Northern Africa now ubiquitous, it is a biennial, self-fertile aromatic plant that grows in light to heavy, and also saline soils, preferably moist. If it likes the sun or semi-shade, it tolerates frosts (even though it might suffer from hard frosts). And it is a good companion to leek, tomato, beans, and brassica, in addition to being an insect repellent. | Read more...


About the Project

Herbs in History is made possible by funding from the AHPA-ERB Foundation, as part of the nonprofit foundation’s mission promote education and research on medicinal, therapeutic, and health-promoting herbs. Tune in monthly for thoughtfully detailed historical accounts of herbs you know and love, and learn more about the origins of medicinal plants that have stood the test of time.

AHPA, QAI, and OTA release updated NOP guidance for dietary supplements

March 26, 2024

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), together with Quality Assurance International (QAI), and the Organic Trade Association (OTA), is pleased to announce the publication of an updated “Guidance on Formulation and Marketing of Dietary Supplements Under the National Organic Program.” The updated resource, produced collaboratively by AHPA, QAI, and OTA, replaces the 2018 version and provides guidance to companies that wish to market organically labeled dietary supplements in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Program (NOP) implements and enforces the USDA organic regulations. In recognition of the increasing complexity of organic supply chains, and to ensure organic integrity is maintained throughout the supply chain, the NOP released the Strengthening Organic Enforcement (SOE) final rule on January 19, 2023.
SOE represents the most significant piece of organic rulemaking since the regulations came into force in 2002. It impacts the entire organic supply chain, including some previously exempt operations and operations that are already certified organic. The updated version of the guidance document incorporates important details of the new SOE requirements, the enforcement of which began on March 19, 2024.
In addition, the updated guidance includes information about the types of supplements that are eligible for organic certification under the NOP, and the various NOP labeling categories that are available for several types of supplement products. It also provides an overview of the regulatory obligations that must be met from the farm to the packaged products, as finished product marketers have regulatory obligations not only for their own manufactured products but also for the organic and nonorganic ingredients they use.
“AHPA is pleased to again partner with QAI and OTA in maintaining this guidance document as a resource for the organic dietary supplement industry,” said Jane Wilson, AHPA Director of Program Development. “Their leadership and expertise in organic production, and the SOE changes in particular, are key to making sure the organic supplement industry is prepared to meet the new SOE requirements.”
“With the enforcement date of the SOE rule quickly approaching, this document is a must-read for members across the organic dietary supplement supply chain,” said Sonia Acuña-Rubio, Director of Food Product Certification, QAI, an NSF company. “As one of the largest organic certification bodies in the U.S., QAI is committed to supporting the dietary supplement industry with meeting organic regulations, including the SOE, with additional free resources available at”
The updated “Guidance on Formulation and Marketing of Dietary Supplements Under the National Organic Program” is available now to AHPA members through the AHPA website, in addition to being available on OTA website and the NSF website.

AHPA Chief Science Officer presents at AOAC International Midyear Meeting

Holly E. Johnson, Ph.D., co-chairs a new working group focused on Botanical Identity

March 21, 2024

American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Chief Science Officer Holly E. Johnson, Ph.D., recently participated in the AOAC International Midyear Meeting in Gaithersburg, MD, March 4-7, 2024. AOAC’s Midyear Meeting serves as a venue for the AOAC community to come together to advance needed analytical methods through dialogue and consensus.

Dr. Johnson co-chairs a new working group focused on Botanical Identity with AHPA member Cristina Amarillas, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Botanicals at Eurofins Scientific. The working group, which will initially focus on creating a guidance document of best practices for development and validation of fit for purpose scientifically valid methods of evaluation for supporting identity specification for botanical materials, was formed within AOAC’s Botanical Ingredients & Dietary Supplements Integrity (BIDSI) program. Other working groups within AOAC BIDSI are addressing priority analytical issues including Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids, PFAS, and Ethylene Oxide testing methods.

The AOAC BIDSI program is designed to provide raw agricultural producers, manufacturers, testing laboratories, and retail establishments with the analytical resources necessary to ensure product integrity, including reliable Certificates of Analysis (i.e., quality and accurate labeling for identity, purity, strength, and composition). During the weeklong AOAC gathering, Dr. Johnson presented at the BIDSI meeting, which also featured Constance Bahr (AOAC), James Harnly, Ph.D. (USDA), Adam Kuszak, Ph.D. (NIH ODS), Gregory Noonan, Ph.D. (FDA), Allyn Shultis (GRMA), and Darryl Sullivan (Eurofins) as speakers.

From left: Adam Kuszak, Ph.D. (NIH ODS), James Harnly, Ph.D. (USDA), Constance Bahr (AOAC), Holly E. Johnson, Ph.D. (AHPA), Cris Amarillas (Eurofins), Allyn Shultis (GRMA), and Darryl Sullivan (Eurofins)

From left: Constance Bahr (AOAC), Mohamed Koroma (Pharmavite), Holly E. Johnson, Ph.D. (AHPA), and Mary Kay Krogull (Eurofins)


Gregory Noonan (FDA) presenting at the AOAC BIDSI meeting

“I look forward to continued collaboration with my esteemed colleagues at AOAC as part of supporting botanical identify verification and other analytical matters impacting AHPA members and the wider herbal and dietary supplement industries," said Dr. Johnson.

AHPA welcomes new and re-elected trustees for 2024

March 20, 2024

AHPA trustees* (from left): Allison Zolnay (Amway), Laura Najera (Metagenics), Daniel Gagnon (Trace Herbals FKA Herbs, Etc.), Alessandra Storzini (Indena), Steven Yeager (Mountain Rose Herbs), Mitch Coven (Vitality Works), Erin Smith (Banyan Botanicals), Bill Chioffi (Nammex), Nils Mueggenburg (Mueggenburg USA), Elise Higley (Oshala Farm), Mark Jost (Gemini Pharmaceuticals), Matt Warnock (RidgeCrest Herbals), Elan Sudberg (Alkemist Labs), Katie Banaszewski (NOW Foods), Wilson Lau (Nuherbs), Edward Fletcher (Native Botanicals, Inc.), Kristina Tucker (The Republic of Tea), Nate Brennan (Pacific Botanicals), and Sindy Wise (WishGarden Herbs)

Last week, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) conducted the annual election for AHPA’s Board of Trustees at the AHPA Annual Member Meeting on March 13 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.

AHPA is pleased to welcome the following industry leaders, representing the wide range of herbal and dietary supplement industry segments supported by AHPA, who were each elected to serve 3-year terms on the AHPA board:

New Trustees

  • Nate Brennan (Pacific Botanicals)

  • Mark Jost (Gemini Pharmaceuticals)

  • Greg Sommerville (Frontier Co-op)

  • Sindy Wise (WishGarden Herbs)

Re-elected Trustees

  • Staci Eisner (Cortex Scientific Botanicals)

  • Erin Smith (Banyan Botanicals)

  • Kristina Tucker (The Republic of Tea)

Following the election, the new board convened to elect board officers and executive committee members for the coming year:

Board Officers

  • Chair: Kristina Tucker (The Republic of Tea)

  • Vice Chair: Trent McCausland (Nature's Sunshine)

  • Secretary: Erin Smith (Banyan Botanicals)

  • Treasurer: Mitch Coven (Vitality Works)

Executive Committee

  • Elan Sudberg (Alkemist Labs)

  • Beth Lambert (Herbalist & Alchemist)

  • Steven Yeager (Mountain Rose Herbs)

“AHPA's trustees provide invaluable experience and expertise to our staff and membership, and we are grateful for their leadership and generous contribution of their time and efforts to support the association and advance the industry," said AHPA President Michael McGuffin.

*Not pictured: Raza Bashir (Iovate), Matt Bletsch (Celestial Seasonings), David Bunting (Herb Pharm), Staci Eisner (Cortex Scientific Botanicals), Taryn Forrelli (Traditional Medicinals), Beth Lambert (Herbalist & Alchemist), Matthew Lowe (Botanic Tonics), Trent McCausland (Nature’s Sunshine), Sara Newmark (True Grace), Maria Laura Reyes (Tadin Herb & Tea), Graham Rigby (Care/of), Greg Sommerville (Frontier Co-op), Troy Smillie (Herbalife), Lynn Warner (Givaudan), Max Willis (Better Being)

AHPA presents: DSHEA and the Defense of Health Freedom

March 20, 2024

To commemorate the 30th anniversary of when the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) was passed, the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is pleased to present, “DSHEA and the Defense of Health Freedom.”

Featuring commentary from Loren Israelsen (UNPA), Sandy Gooch (Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Market), and Steven Shapiro (Rivkin Radler), among others intimately involved in the lead up to and the movement behind DSHEA, the 26-minute video offers retrospective, firsthand accounts of the unprecedented efforts of dietary supplement industry leaders, legislative champions, and galvanized consumers who worked together to get the landmark legislation passed.

“There are people in this industry – people who love our products, and people who insist on access to our products – who have no recollection of how we came to be,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin in his introduction of the video, which premiered at the AHPA Annual Member Meeting on March 13, 2024, at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA. “This history lesson serves as a tribute to how far we have come and to inspire our continued work to protect access to safe, high quality dietary supplements and natural products.”

2024 AHPA Awards honor industry advocates and herbal champions

March 19, 2024

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is pleased to announce the outstanding recipients of the 2024 AHPA Awards, recognizing individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the continued success of the herbal and dietary supplement industries.

2024 AHPA Award Winners

  • Herbal Hero Award: Will Woodlee

  • Herbal Industry Leadership Award: Pacific Botanicals

  • Herbal Insight Award: Sidney Sudberg

  • Herbal Diversity & Inclusion Award: Women in Nutraceuticals (WIN)

  • Environmental Impact Award: Susan Leopold

  • Herbal Advocacy Award: NOW Foods

  • Herbal Champion Award: Governor Bill Richardson (1947-2023)

From left: Sidney Sudberg, Heather Granato (WIN), Tony Martinez (on behalf of the late Governor Bill Richardson),
Katie Banaszewski (NOW Foods), Nate Brennan (Pacific Botanicals), Susan Leopold, and Will Woodlee

The AHPA Awards were presented during the AHPA Annual Member Meeting on March 13 at Natural Products Expo West in Anaheim, CA.

“Every year, it is our distinct privilege to honor a select group of the many individuals and organizations whose work has strengthened our industry and challenged us all to do and be better,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “We are grateful to the esteemed group of 2024 AHPA Award recipients for their contributions to AHPA and the wider industry, and we thank them for celebrating with us.”

AHPA Herbal Hero Award: Will Woodlee

Will Woodlee is a partner at Washington, D.C.-based Kleinfeld, Kaplan & Becker LLP and serves as general counsel to AHPA. Will has extensive experience with matters involving the federal, state, and local regulation of food, dietary supplements, and cosmetics, among other products, and was included in the 2021-2024 editions of Best Lawyers in America under the “FDA Law” category. AHPA staff and members alike commend Will for his subject matter expertise and thoughtful attention to supporting the association and wider industry.

“I am extremely grateful to my mentor Tony Young who taught me so much about this industry and about DSHEA and how to navigate the complicated world in which we have to compete. I am also extremely grateful to Michael McGuffin and all the different AHPA staff I have served over the years in this capacity…and to all my colleagues back at KKB in Washington who help support AHPA initiatives daily. The job of AHPA general counsel really belongs to our firm and we are extremely proud and privileged to have this opportunity. Serving AHPA has been the privilege of my career thus far. The work we do for AHPA is fulfilling, challenging, engaging…but the most important and most exciting thing about this work is the people. I’ve made great friends, I continue to develop relationships, and I can say, unequivocally…the herbal community is special. I look forward to earning this award eventually and I greatly appreciate the recognition.”

– Will Woodlee in his acceptance of the 2024 AHPA Herbal Hero Award

AHPA Herbal Industry Leadership Award: Pacific Botanicals 

Pacific Botanicals, a division of Herb Pharm, are growers and suppliers of high-quality herbs and spices. Located in Grants Pass, Oregon, Pacific Botanicals was founded by Mark Wheeler in 1979 and has upheld a passionate commitment to quality in everything they do – from the seeds they plant in their pristine growing environment, to the organic nutrients they add to the soil and their perfectly timed harvests. Certified organic in growing and processing by USDA and Oregon Tilth, Pacific Botanicals is committed to building trusted, lasting relationships with customers and growing partners, and their work to care for herbs and the earth is appreciated by and inspirational to many.

“We are very honored to be the recipient of the 2024 AHPA Herbal Industry Leadership Award. It is a true testament to the team that we have here at Pacific Botanicals, and the dedication of each person here from the farm team to the mill to the shop; we have people that are passionate about botanicals. Without them, and their dedication, we would not be the company we are today. It started with Mark Wheeler’s vision of providing high quality botanicals to people in need, and his commitment to soil health which we continue to push forward today as a silver level Regenerative Organic farm. The cooperation, commitment, and passion that is throughout the herbal industry is something we are proud to be part of and look forward to continuing to lead into the future.”

– Nate Brennan, Senior Supply Chain Manager, on Pacific Botanicals receiving the 2024 AHPA Herbal Industry Leadership Award

AHPA Herbal Insight Award: Sidney Sudberg  

Sidney Sudberg, L. Ac. D.C., is a natural products scientist with emphasis on the discipline of pharmacognosy, the study of medicinal natural products. After many years as a clinician, Sidney combined his clinical knowledge and experience with his chemistry background to found Alkemist Labs, an independent contract analytical testing and research laboratory highly respected for its botanical testing expertise. Sidney has published several scientific papers on natural products and many articles on lab best practices to educate the herbal products industry, and his many contributions to advancing the science behind the herbal and dietary supplement industries are as numerous as they are impactful.

“I am honored to have been chosen for the 2024 AHPA Herbal Insight Award. This acknowledgment of my rewarding journey into the world of botanical or plant drug medicine, which began in 1965, is especially meaningful as it is from my AHPA peers, who have been on their own rewarding paths. It is my hope that what we have done at Alkemist Labs for nearly 30 years will continue to contribute to world health, by enhancing the quality of botanical and natural medicine.”

– Sidney Sudberg on receiving the 2024 AHPA Herbal Insight Award

AHPA Herbal Diversity & Inclusion Award: Women in Nutraceuticals  

Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on unlocking the professional and personal potential of women. The organization is igniting a movement to build support for women across the nutraceutical supply chain to help increase the percentage of women holding leadership roles, funding for female-led businesses, and women’s participation in research. AHPA is a proud partner of WIN and supporter of the organization’s efforts to advance women in the industry.

“WIN leadership is honored and grateful to AHPA for this recognition of our role in advancing diversity and inclusion in the nutraceuticals industry. Women In Nutraceuticals (WIN) is a non-profit spearheaded by a cohort of global nutraceutical leaders, with a mission to inspire, empower, and motivate women in our industry to achieve personal and professional success. Achieving economic and societal gender equity will have a positive impact on our industry, as increased diversity improves business outcomes and innovation. It’s notable that AHPA itself has a diverse staff, including several women in high leadership positions, and is a partner of WIN. Being recognized by AHPA is particularly meaningful because of how much thought and discussion go into their selections. Thank you.”

– Heather Granato, President, on WIN receiving the 2024 AHPA Herbal Diversity & Inclusion Award

AHPA Environmental Impact Award: Susan Leopold 

Susan Leopold is an ethnobotanist and conservation biologist known for her work in the fields of plant conservation, sustainable agriculture, and ethnobotany. She is the Executive Director of United Plant Savers, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their habitat. Susan is an advocate for ethical wildcrafting practices, community-based conservation initiatives, and the preservation of traditional plant knowledge.

“Thank you so much, I am so honored to get this Environmental Impact Award. One thing I really want to highlight is that conservation, commerce, and cultivation of these plants are intricately connected, and we can’t have commerce without conservation. The conservation piece of this work in the American herbal products world is critical, so there’s no better time to partner with United Plants Savers and to partner locally with conservation efforts to ensure a future for our native plants that really provide the backbone to this industry. As we heal ourselves, we heal the planet, and vice versa – so we each have a very important role to play. Something I often say is, ‘herbs are the gateway drug to activism.’”

– Susan Leopold in her acceptance of the 2024 AHPA Environmental Impact Award

AHPA Herbal Advocacy Award: NOW Foods 

Founded by Elwood Richard in 1968 on the belief that natural is better and still a family-owned company today, NOW Foods provides customers with a comprehensive approach to wellness by offering products and services that empower people to lead healthier lives. NOW is committed to offering safe, affordable products of the highest quality and is a highly regarded advocate in the natural products industry. In 2017, NOW started its award-winning industry self-policing program of testing unfamiliar brands found on Amazon with the goal to provide consumers with knowledge on quality and testing of supplements so they can make informed purchases.

"NOW is honored to receive this special AHPA award for Herbal Industry Advocacy in recognition of our efforts in documenting the poor quality of ‘ghost brand’ supplements available on Amazon and advocating for better policing. NOW started this testing program in 2017 when family owner Dan Richard decided it was important to document the problems he was seeing with many supplements for sale on Amazon. We will continue to use the tools we have to ensure the safety and quality of NOW products to also monitor unfamiliar brands found on Amazon. And we will continue to advocate for Amazon to take action against dishonest brands, and for regulatory agencies to enforce existing quality requirements."

– Katie Banaszewski, Senior Director of Quality, on NOW Foods receiving the 2024 Herbal Industry Advocacy Award

AHPA Herbal Champion Award: Governor Bill Richardson (1947-2023)  

For more than 30 years, Bill Richardson led a distinguished public service career, serving as a U.S. Congressman, a U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and Secretary of Energy under President Bill Clinton, as well as receiving four Nobel Peace Prize nominations. As Governor of New Mexico, Richardson’s bold governing style moved New Mexico forward in several important areas, including clean energy, education, transportation, healthcare, immigration, and environmental protection. Among his many great achievements and public service contributions, AHPA is most grateful for Governor Richardson’s sponsorship and support of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), which he helped maneuver through the House of Representatives and eventually get passed, establishing the foundation for the robust dietary supplement industry we know today. Governor Richardson passed in September 2023. His legacy of diplomacy continues through his nonprofit, The Richardson Center.

“What can I say about Bill Richardson, who, for me, was a mentor and a great man. He was a wizard. His gift was he had the ability to look at a situation and to say, ‘How do we connect?’…and he would use this in the most difficult situations. In fact, there is a lot of great political theater with Bill Richardson when it comes to the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act – which, going to congressional tradition, if DSHEA were to be named after the legislators primarily responsible for that act, DSHEA would be called the Hatch-Richardson Act…In August 2023, I was with him and we were talking about him coming to Expo West – he loved the show, loved the people. He would say, if he was here today, ‘Go connect and develop new champions.’ He would also say, ‘Run for office.’ Why shouldn’t someone in this industry be in Congress? That would be the best champion we could have…He was larger than life, he was a good man, and I miss him.”

– Tony Martinez in his acceptance of Governor Richardson’s 2024 AHPA Herbal Champion Award on behalf of and at the request of the Richardson family

FDA announces final guidance on NDIN procedures and timeframes for dietary supplement industry

AHPA welcomes the agency’s shift to a section-by-section based approach to finalizing NDIN guidance

March 6, 2024

Yesterday, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) announced the release of a final guidance titled “Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notification Procedures and Timeframes: Guidance for Industry.” Intended to help dietary supplement manufacturers and distributors prepare and submit new dietary ingredient notifications (NDINs), the guidance finalizes Section V (“NDI Notification Procedures and Timeframes”) of the 2016 revised draft guidance.
Using a Q&A format to provide information about the NDIN submission and review process, the guidance addresses topics such as:

  • Who needs to submit an NDIN?

  • How should the information be organized and presented?

  • Where should an NDIN be submitted?

  • What happens after an NDIN is submitted?

The Constituent Update from the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (CFSAN) announcing the final guidance confirmed that the “approach of separating the 2016 revised draft guidance into discrete sections for ease of use is responsive to comments received on the draft guidance.” This shift to finalizing guidance by section is a practical approach that the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) has long thought FDA should take. 

“AHPA is pleased to see FDA finalize the section on ‘Notification Procedures and Timeframes’ of the agency’s guidance to industry on NDINs. This action is consistent with a suggestion AHPA made during an in-person meeting at FDA’s office in 2012, specifically suggesting that FDA address the issue of NDIN guidance with a section-by-section based approach. We were told by FDA leadership at that time that such an approach would ‘be confusing,’” explained AHPA President Michael McGuffin. “However, the final guidance issued today – though still subject to detailed internal and member review – appears to be clarifying rather than confusing. We look forward to FDA’s issuance of additional clarifying sections of guidance on this important regulatory matter.”




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