Herb World News Online

Herb Research Foundation


 Top News  |  World  |  Science  |  Research Reviews  |  Politics  |  Industry  |  Features
Press Releases

CONTACT: Robert S. McCaleb

Herb Research Foundation Gives Herbs Scientific Credibility to Counter Media Distortions

October 11, 2001: The dietary supplement industry is under siege. A perceived lack of scientific credibility and regulatory opposition feeds negative media coverage, which in turn undermines consumers' confidence in alternative healing therapies.

Recently, some of the negative media coverage has been "the unintentional consequence of well-intended actions," said Rob McCaleb, president of the Herb Research Foundation (HRF) in Boulder, CO. In an apparent effort to resolve industry quality issues, a number of analytical programs were undertaken with industry funding. McCaleb cites poorly designed "test and tell" programs as hurting the industry and badly eroding consumer confidence in supplement quality. These programs have trivialized quality with a simplistic focus on single chemical "markers" and encouraged consumers to buy the cheapest brand that provides enough of certain chemicals.

Scientific credibility is essential to bolster consumer confidence in herbs and for the continued growth of the industry. Since its founding in 1983, HRF has served as the central archive of scientific literature on the health effects and safety of botanicals and has developed the world's most comprehensive collection of clinical trials, pharmacology, toxicology, chemical, historical, and horticultural data on thousands of herbal ingredients. HRF's current collection consists of more than 300,000 articles.

By law, manufacturers must substantiate all structure/function claims made in product labeling and advertising. Now, as the FDA turns its scrutiny to functional foods, these issues have become particularly important for manufacturers incorporating botanical ingredients into food products. HRF provides substantiation files for botanicals based on a vast collection of information resources, and has provided substantiation to support claims made by dozens of companies for hundreds of products. Substantiation files provide companies with a more complete picture of the benefits and safety of herbal ingredients, which allows them to make valid claims and provide a greater depth of information to consumers, media, and regulators.

HRF also has a well-established professional review program for herbs. The HRF Botanical Ingredient Review approach is the most effective and cost-effective way to document the safety and scientific credibility of botanical ingredients. The program allows companies to "self-affirm" the status of herbs as "generally recognized as safe" (GRAS). To date, HRF has undertaken reviews for more than 30 commonly used botanicals, and its Botanical Ingredient Review program has been recognized by the FDA and the Food and Drug Law Institute.


 Top News  |  World  |  Science  |  Research Reviews  |  Politics  |  Industry  |  Features

Back to the Herb World News Online Front Page

Visit the Herb World News Archives

© 2003 by Herb Research Foundation, Boulder, CO, USA.