Austin, TX—Six industry leaders were recognized for their contributions to the herbal and botanical communities at the 16th annual Celebration and Botanical Excellence Awards Ceremony by the American Botanical Council (ABC). This year, the event was held virtually on May 25 and livestreamed onABC’s YouTube channel, where it can be viewedon demand.

“As a science-based research and education organization, ABC attempts to keep current with the explosive amount of human clinical research that is published in the scientific literature each year,” said Mark Blumenthal, Founder and Executive Director of ABC, in a press release. “ABC’s Botanical Excellence Awards are granted to individuals and commercial businesses that are committed to excellence in exploring and expanding the scientific research on herbs, medicinal plants, phytomedicines, medicinal fungi, and other natural products with therapeutic value.”

The 2021 recipients:

Michael McGuffin, President of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), was awarded theABC Mark Blumenthal Herbal Community Builder Award,given to individuals who have played a significant role in creating a sense of community among herbalists, botanical researchers, members of the herb and natural products communities and industries, and others who work in the various areas of medicinal and aromatic plants.

“Representing the AHPA membership, [McGuffin] regularly authors public comments to state and federal regulatory agencies, promoting a rational perspective on the development of government laws, regulations, and policies," ," Blumenthal said while presenting the award. "Without his strong and seemingly tireless energy and leadership, it is questionable that the herb industry in the U.S. would be as successful, and as large, as it is today.”

In his acceptance speech, McGuffin thanks the AHPA staff and Board, and recounted how he came to be a community builder. “My involvement with AHPA began when I got a call from Shel Weinberg at Trout Lake Farm to ask me to consider filling a vacancy on the board. But I was running a small herb business at the time, and I told Shel I was just too busy. I’ll never forget Shel’s response; he said, 'We’re all too busy Michael, but it’s your turn.' That message somehow resonated with me. So let me leave you with this thought – maybe it’s your turn! Your turn to broaden your focus from however you now spend your time—professionally or personally—and try to find an opportunity to build community in your own corner of the world. I’ll see you there! Thank you, and thanks again to ABC.”

Christopher Hobbs, Ph.D., Director of the Institute for Natural Products Research, was awarded theABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award for his new book,Christopher Hobbs's Medicinal Mushrooms: The Essential Guide: Boost Immunity, Improve Memory, Fight Cancer, Stop Infection, and Expand Your Consciousness.

Paula N. Brown, Ph.D., Director of the British Columbia Institute of Technology's (BCITs) Natural Health and Food Products Research Group, was awarded theABC Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award,given for significant research contributions in the fields of pharmacognosy, ethnobotany, ethnopharmacology, or other scientific disciplines related to medicinal plants.

TheSwedish Herbal Institute (SHI) and Founder and ChairmanGeorg Wikman were presented with theABC Varro E. Tyler Commercial Investment in Phytomedicinal Research Award,given each year to a botanical ingredient, dietary supplement, and/or phytomedicinal products company that makes a strong investment in human clinical research to support the authenticity, safety, and efficacy of its ingredients or products. ABC chose SHI for its commitment to the scientific and clinical research on the therapeutic effects of several botanical ingredients, including andographis and rhodiola.

Tori Hudson, ND, Medical Director of A Woman’s Time natural health care clinic, Program Director of the Institute of Women’s Health & Integrative Medicine, and an adjunct clinical professor at Bastyr University, National College of Naturopathic Medicine, and Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine & Health Sciences, was honored with theABC Fredi Kronenberg Excellence in Research and Education in Botanicals for Women’s Health Award. This award is presented to a researcher, educator, and/or clinician who furthers the scientific study, education, and clinical use of medicinal plants and phytomedicines for women’s health conditions. Dr. Hudson was recognized for having a leading role in educating naturopaths about primary and specialty natural care of women.

Jerry Cott, Ph.D., a senior pharmacologist for the FDA prior to retiring, took home theABC Champion Award, given to ABC supporters who have helped the organization promote and achieve its nonprofit research and educational mission. ABC shared that Dr. Cott has been the primary peer reviewer of many articles for ABC’sHerbalGram, as well as summaries of clinical trials and review articles and chapters forThe ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs.
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