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Herb Research Foundation


Robert S. McCaleb
HRF Founder and President

Rob McCaleb is an internationally recognized expert on botanicals, natural foods and supplements. As a researcher, consultant, writer and educator he is a leading proponent of natural health care with botanical and nutritional products.  McCaleb is the founder and president of the Herb Research Foundation in Boulder, CO, a research and education organization focusing on plants used in foods, dietary supplements, medicines and cosmetics.  He also heads Natural Healthcare Inc., which helps companies succeed in the dynamic natural products marketplace, while helping the natural products industry to build more sustainable business and supply chains and to ride the wave of public support for corporate social and environmental responsibility. For over 30 years, Rob has provided advisory services for natural products development, labeling, marketing and promotion.


He was Research Director for Celestial Seasonings; headed the Technical Committee of the American Herbal Products Association and the Herb Trade Association; and was one of only two botanical scientists on the presidentially-appointed Commission on Dietary Supplement Labels, which studied global regulation of natural health products and made recommendations to Congress and the FDA for improving their regulation. He has also served as an advisor to the U.S. Congress, the Office of Technology Assessment, the Office of Dietary Supplements, the Office of Alternative Medicine, the Institute of Medicine and other federal and state agencies. 


In the international development field, McCaleb has worked for over 30 years to assist micro, small and medium scale enterprises in achieving success in the natural products sector. His international work since 1980 has involved development of natural product businesses throughout Africa, Asia, Central and South America, Eastern Europe and Russia.


Mr. McCaleb’s consulting firm, Natural Healthcare Inc., works with companies to assist them in formulating, labeling and marketing natural and organic foods, especially tea products, dietary supplements, and personal care products.  He has aided in the development and marketing of many of America's top dietary supplements, as well as food, drug and cosmetic products both in the natural foods sector and the mass market.


Educated in Cellular Biology and Botany at the University of Texas and University of Colorado, he was a PhD candidate in Ethnobotany (ABD) at Union Institute. He is author of The Encyclopedia of Popular Herbs, Best Herbs for Healing and editor of the Rodale Encyclopedia of Herbs.


McCaleb worked in collaboration with New Hope Natural Media on the development of the Global Business Program, providing training and tools for small to medium enterprises in the natural products sector.



  • Developed with QA manager all quality assurance programs for the company in 1976
  • Responsible for product development of herbal teas, coffee substitutes, ready to serve cold beverages, botanical toiletries and cosmetics
  • Developed the company’s flavor profiling and analysis systems
    • Unlike black tea, coffee, wine and a few other products with well-developed lexicons for the description of flavor attributes, herbal products had no standardized terminology. We developed the terminology and created a flavor control system involving all key players in the purchasing, formulation and manufacturing of company products to assure consistency and consumer acceptance of this range of products.
  • Researched benefits and safety of all ingredients
  • Responsible for international troubleshooting of ingredient quality problems; and quality training and management programs for suppliers
  • Handled communications with food and drug attorneys and with the media



  • Assembled scientific literature files on thousands of botanicals used in foods, drugs, cosmetics and other natural botanical products (>300,000 articles)
  • Source of substantiation literature and assessments for most major herbal dietary supplement products
  • Major educational resource for healthcare practitioners, legislators, companies, the media and the public
  • Produced hundreds of articles, lectures, workshops and other presentations on herbs



  • Researched natural product regulation worldwide
  • Contributed expertise on the appropriate and legal promotion and regulation of botanical dietary supplements and functional foods
  • Advised Congress and the Administration on dietary supplement regulation and labeling



  • Consults with food, dietary supplement, body care and pharmaceutical companies on formulation, labeling, marketing and public education for natural products
  • Capabilities include product development, labeling, advertising and web site review for scientific accuracy and regulatory compliance



  • A new enterprise that will help companies become more “green” and help values-driven customers find environmentally and socially conscious companies with sustainable supply chains.


2008 Herb Research Foundation
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