FWD 2 Botanical Adulterants Monitor - American Botanical Council



Dear Reader

Origanum-vulgare-723662.jpgTwo new publications by the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) became available in the fall of 2019. Published in September, the saw palmetto (Serenoa repens) Laboratory Guidance Document evaluated 34 methods for their suitability to detect adulteration mainly with vegetable oils or blends of vegetable oils with fatty acids from animal sources. In October, BAPP published the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Bulletin (BAPB) on oregano (Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum, or O. onites) herb and essential oil. This is the 19th in the series of BAPBs; it documents the substitution or dilution of oregano leaf with undeclared lower cost fillers such as cistus (Cistus spp.) leaves, hazelnut (Corylus avellana) leaves, olive (Olea europaea) leaves, or sumac (Rhus spp.) leaves. In addition, the bulletin covers the adulteration of oregano essential oil with oils obtained from other Origanum and Thymus species, Spanish thyme blend, and synthetic carvacrol and thymol.

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  Stefan Gafner, PhD
Chief Science Officer, ABC
Technical Director, ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

Recent News 

Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program Produces Oregano Bulletin 

Oregano (Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum; O. onites) is one of the most popular herbs for culinary use, especially in countries of the Arabian Peninsula, Europe, North Africa, and North America. Oregano extracts and oregano essential oil are also popular as dietary supplement ingredients. Besides its use in dietary supplements, oregano essential oil is included as an ingredient in formulations of the perfume and cosmetic industry.

BAPP BAB Oregano

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Saw Palmetto Laboratory Guidance Document Published by Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program

Products containing saw palmetto berries and/or their extracts are among the most popular botanical dietary supplements in the United States. However, the continuous demand and lower-than-expected harvest volumes have led to a situation where the saw palmetto berry supply cannot keep up with the demand. Consequently, prices for saw palmetto berries have increased substantially in recent years, leading to a financial incentive to substitute or dilute saw palmetto extracts with vegetable oil, or designer fatty acid blends from plant and/or animal fats to attempt to mimic the saw palmetto fatty acid composition.


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ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program Welcomes New Supporters and Underwriters 

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program is grateful to the following companies that have recently committed to financially underwriting the Program:
  • CV Science, Inc 
  • Lief Labs
  • Neptune Wellness Solutions

Upcoming Events

Below are descriptions and links to some of the upcoming conferences, seminars, and workshops that may be of interest to learn more on adulteration.



Previous Issues of “Botanical Adulterants Monitor”

Available here.

Regulatory Alerts

serenoa repens saw palmetto

Saw Palmetto Serenoa repens. Photo ©2019 Steven Foster

Saw Palmetto Extract Manufacturer Denied Punitive Damages for Receiving Adulterated Material from Supplier

Dietary supplement extract manufacturer Jiaherb (Pine Brook, NJ) sued one of its ingredient suppliers, claiming that the company led Jiaherb to unknowingly purchase a product labeled to contain saw palmetto extract which was diluted with vegetable oils, misrepresenting the saw palmetto extract as unadulterated. The complaint alleged injuries to Jiaherb’s “business, reputation, and good will” as well as lost profits due to cancelled orders, and included claims under the Lanham Act*, the Universal Commercial Code (UCC), and state law theories of liability.

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Science Update

Addition of Lead Chromate to Turmeric Represents Health Risk in Bangladesh

Forsyth JE, Weaver KL, Maher K, Saiful Islam M, Raqib R, Rahman M, Fendorf S, Luby SP. Sources of blood lead exposure in rural Bangladesh. Environ Sci Technol. 2019;53(19):11429-11436.

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curcuma longa turmeric

Turmeric Curcuma longa. Photo ©2019 Steven Foster


Review of Published Data on DNA-Based Botanical Ingredient Authentication Suggests that Adulteration is Common

Reviewed: Ichim MC. The DNA-based authentication of commercial herbal products reveals their globally widespread adulteration. Front Pharmacol. 2019;10:1227.

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MALDI-TOF-MS-Based Fingerprinting Using Cysteine-rich Peptides as Markers to Distinguish between Roots of Astragalus and Hedysarum

Reviewed: Huang J, Wong KH, Tay SV, How A, Tam JP. Cystein-rich peptide fingerprinting as a general method for herbal analysis to differentiate radix Astralagi and radix Hedysarum. Front Plant Sci. 2019;10:973.

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Distinction between Cranberry and Lingonberry Fruit Using UHPLC-MS

Reviewed: Hurkova K, Uttl L, Rubert J, Navratilova K, Kokourek V, Strenska-Zachariasova M, Paprstein F, Hajslova J. Cranberries versus lingonberries: a challenging authentication of similar Vaccinium fruit. Food Chem. 2019;284:162-170.

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Characterization of European Ash Leaves by HPTLC and UHPLC-UV-MS

Reviewed: Kiss AK, Michalak B, Patyra A, Majdan M. UHPLC‐DAD‐ESI‐MS/MS and HPTLC profiling of ash leaf samples from different commercial and natural sources and their in vitro effects on mediators of inflammation. Phytochem Anal. 2019; doi: 10.1002/pca.2866. [Epub ahead of print].



Useful Links and Resources

For more information and updates on the work of the three partner organizations of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program, please visit ABC at www.herbalgram.org, AHP at www.herbal-ahp.org, and NCNPR at www.pharmacy.olemiss.edu/ncnpr.

Other Helpful Resources and Links

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About the

The ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program is a consortium of independent nonprofit organizations whose mission relates to education, scientific research, and quality of botanical dietary ingredients and related plant-derived materials. The consortium is headed by three nonprofit groups dealing with education and research on medicinal herbs and other beneficial plants: the American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi. The program is underwritten or endorsed by more than 130 natural products industry companies, independent analytical laboratories, contract research organizations, nonprofit and professional organizations, trade associations, accredited institutions of education in natural medicine, law firms, and media companies that are involved in the production, supply, manufacture, distribution, marketing, analysis, research, and/or education of herbal dietary ingredients and supplements, in the United States and internationally. All publications of the Program are available free-access on its homepage including the “Botanical Adulterants Monitor,” an e-newsletter that conveys Program news, regulatory updates, and recent scientific publications related to adulteration, contamination, identity, and authenticity of botanical raw materials, extracts, and essential oils. Companies, organizations, foundations, and/or individuals interested in supporting this program are invited to contact Ms. Denise Meikel, ABC Development Director, at (512) 926-4900, ext. 120, or by email.


Thank You to Our Supporters

Underwriters and Supporters of the ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program (as of February 15, 2019)*

*By acknowledging the generous support of these companies and organizations, ABC, AHP, and NCNPR are not endorsing any ingredients or products that may be produced or marketed by them.

Financial Underwriters

21st Century Healthcare

AdvoCare International L.P.

Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Aloecorp, Inc.

Amen Clinics

Amway/Nutrilite Health Institute

Arbonne International

Arizona Nutritional Supplements

Artemis International, Inc.

Atrium Innovations

Aveda Corporation

Beachbody, LLC

BI Nutraceuticals


Bionorica SE



Botanical Liaisons

Bruker BioSpin


Cepham, Inc.

Chemi Nutra

CNCA Health

Complete Phytochemical Solutions

Crila Health

CV Sciences, Inc.

dicentra, Inc.

Doctor’s Best

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

DolCas Biotech, LLC

Douglas Laboratories

Draco Natural Products

Emerson Ecologics

Enzymatic Therapy, Inc.

Ethical Naturals, Inc.

Eu Yan Sang International




Flavex Naturextrakte GmbH


Fruit d'Or

Gaia Herbs

GE Nutrients, Inc.

Global Health Industries

GNC, Inc.

Healthy Lifestyle Brands, LLC

Helios Corp.

Herb Pharm

Herbalife International, Inc.

Horphag Research


Indena USA, Inc.

Indfrag Limited


Ingredient Identity

Ixoreal Biomed, Inc.

Jarrow Formulas

K. Patel Phyto Extractions Pvt. Ltd

Layn USA, Inc.

Lief Labs

LifeSeasons, Inc.


Markan Global Enterprises, Inc.

Financial Underwriters

Martin Bauer, Inc.

MediHerb / Integria Healthcare

Metagenics, Inc.

MIDI, Inc.

Natreon, Inc.


Natural Alternatives International, Inc.

Natural Factors Nutritional Products, Inc.
   /Bioclinic Naturals

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

Natural Remedies Pvt. Ltd.

Nature's Answer

Nature's Sunshine Products

Nature's Way


Naturex, Inc.

NBTY, Inc.

Neptune Wellness Solutions

New Chapter, Inc.

The New Frontier Foundation Fund of the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation

Ningbo Greenhealth Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Novel Ingredients

NOW Foods

Nu Skin Enterprises/Pharmanex

Nutraceuticals Corp.

NutraSource Diagnostics, Inc.

Organic India

Ortho Molecular Products

Pacific Nutritional Inc.

Paragon Laboratories

Pathway International Pty Limited

Perrigo Company

Pharmatoka SAS

Pharmavite, LLC

Phoenix Formulations

PLT Health Solutions, Inc.

Polyphenolics, Division of Constellation Brands, Inc.

Pure Encapsulations

Rainbow Light Nutritional Systems

Regular Girl

RFI Ingredients, LLC

Rosenbush and Zimmerman Family Fund

Sabinsa Corporation

Schwabe North America


SFI Flordis

Shaklee Corp.

Standard Process, Inc.

Strategic Sourcing, Inc.

Taiyo International, Inc.

Thorne Research, Inc.

Tishcon Corp.

Tomorrow's Nutrition

Traditional Medicinals, Inc.

TSI Group


Univera, Inc.

Valensa International

V.D.F. FutureCeuticals

Verdure Sciences

Vitamin Shoppe

VitaQuest International

Whole Foods Market

Trade Associations

American Herbal Products Association (US)

Australian Self Medication Industry (Australia)

Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (Australia)

British Herbal Medicine Association (UK)

Canadian Health Food Association (Canada)

Complementary Medicines Australia (Australia)

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (US)

Council for Responsible Nutrition (US)

International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA)

National Animal Supplement Council (US)

Natural Products Association (US)

Natural Products New Zealand (NZ)

United Natural Products Alliance (US)

Nonprofit/Professional Associations

Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine

American Association of Naturopathic Physicians

American Herbalists Guild

American Society of Pharmacognosy

AOAC International

Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine

Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Convention of the United States
Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium

Irish Register of Herbalists (IRE)

National Institute of Medical Herbalists (UK)

Natural Health Products Research Society of Canada (NHPRS Canada)

Personalized Lifestyle Medicine Institute

Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research (GA)


Bastyr University

Boucher Institute for Naturopathic Medicine

Center for Natural Products Technologies, College of Pharmacy, University of Illinois-Chicago

College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy

Hong Kong Baptist University’s School of Chinese Medicine

National College of Natural Medicine

Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine

University of Bridgeport College of Naturopathic Medicine
Third-Party Analytical Laboratories

Alkemist Labs

AuthenTechnologies LLC

Bent Creek Institute

BotaniCert (France)

British Columbia Institute of Technology


Covance Laboratories

Creative Accord, LLC

Eurofins Scientific Inc.

Flora Research Labs

NSF International

PhytoLab (Germany)

Spectrix Labs

Tampa Bay Analytical


Alive Publishing Group

Delicious Living


Holistic Primary Care

Informa Exhibitions US

Integrator Blog

Media Relations, Inc.

Modern Healthcare Practitioner

Natural Foods Merchandiser

Natural Medicine Journal

Natural Products INSIDER


Nutraceuticals World


Nutrition Business Journal

Nutrition Industry Executive

Nutritional Outlook

Vitamin Retailer

WholeFoods Magazine


Law Firms & Regulatory Consultants

Amin Talati & Upadhye, LLC

Greenberg Traurig, LLP (James Prochnow)

Law Office of Holly Bayne, P.C.

Robert Forbes & Associates

Susan Brienza, LLC

Ullman, Shapiro & Ullman, LLP

Contract Research Organizations

KGK Synergize


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