CRN publishes reference on evaluating botanicals

provided by Council for Responsible Nutrition

he Council for Responsible Nutri-tion (CRN) is releasing a new publication, the CRN Reference on Evaluating Botanicals. The report was compiled for CRN by Marilyn Barrett, Ph.D., a pharmacognosist and consultant on botanical issues. Barrett said the purpose of the report is "to give manufacturers, government officials, health care providers, the media and consumers some perspectives on evaluating botanical products marketed as dietary supplements."

For the first time anywhere, the new CRN publication provides an extensive table showing which of more than 340 botanicals have been monographed in key authoritative references. These include pharma-copeias such as the US Pharmacopeia-National Formulary, the British Herbal Pharmacopeia and the American Herbal Pharmacopeia, and other compilations such as the German Commission E monographs, the World Health Organization model monographs, and the monographs prepared by the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP). Botanicals that are currently monographed or planned for inclusion in five or more of these authoritative references include garlic, ginkgo, ginger, ginseng, lemon balm, milk thistle, peppermint, saw palmetto, St. John's wort, uva-ursi and valerian.

The CRN report also provides basic background information on topics such as the past and present use of botanicals, regulatory status, methodologies for plant identification, approaches to assessing health benefits and determining dosage, safety evaluation and standardization.

John Cardellina, Ph.D., a natural products chemist who joined CRN in April of this year as Director of Botanical Science and Regulatory Affairs, said, "I view this as one of CRN's first steps in a campaign to increase awareness and understanding of the uses, benefits, and safety of botanicals. The report provides a valuable reference and is an indication of CRN's increased commitment to the botanical arena."

Cardellina has been a researcher in natural products for more than 20 years. Before coming to CRN, he was a senior investigator and Head of the Natural Products Chemistry Section, Laboratory of Drug Discovery Research and Development, Developmental Therapeutics Program, National Cancer Institute.

Barrett is founder and principal of Pharmacognosy Consulting Services in Redwood City, CA. She has more than 20 years of experience in natural products research, including postdoctoral positions at the Royal College of Surgeons and at the William Harvey Research Institute in London, directing a drug discovery screening program at Shaman Pharmaceuticals, and serving as Director of Research and Development for Trout Lake Farm.

Expert reviewers of the CRN report included Varro E. Tyler, Ph.D., Sc.D., Dean and Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Purdue University; and Edward M. Croom, Ph.D., School of Pharmacy, University of Mississippi.

  The Council for Responsible Nutrition is a trade association representing approximately 100 companies in the dietary supplement industry. CRN and its members are committed to improving the health of the American public through better nutrition, including the appropriate use of dietary supplements. Contact: Kristi Jenuleson, (202) 872-1488.