FWD 2 Botanical Adulterants Monitor - American Botanical Council


Dear Reader

Continuing his investigations into the quality of herbal supplements, the New York Attorney General’s (NY AG’s) office issued 13 cease-and-desist letters to companies marketing devil’s claw dietary supplements in the state of New York. The basis of the letters are results provided by experts from the New York Botanical Garden using a DNA mini-barcode approach to show that the herbal dietary supplements contained Harpagophytum zeyheri (Pedaliaceae) or a mixture of H. procumbens and H. zeyheri. While it is permissible in many jurisdictions (particularly Europe) to use the two species interchangeably, the NY AG based some of his regulatory action on the first edition of American Herbal Products Association’s Herbs of Commerce (1992), which, according to industry self-regulation, lists only H. procumbens as the plant species that should be sold as devil’s claw in the Unites States.


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

ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

Recent News 

Bilberry Laboratory Guidance Document Published by ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program 

The extensively peer-reviewed bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus, Ericaceae) fruit extract Laboratory Guidance Document, containing a review of macroscopic, microscopic (both of limited use for the authentication of bilberry extracts)  

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

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ABC-AHP-NCNPR Botanical Adulterants Program

Regulatory Alerts

New York Attorney General Issues Cease-and-Desist Letters to 13 Companies Marketing Devil’s Claw Dietary Supplements Containing Harpagophytum zeyheri

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Class-Action Lawsuits following New York Attorney General Investigations from 10 States Consolidated into Single Litigation

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China Food and Drug Administration Recalls Tons of Substandard Ginkgo biloba Extracts and Products

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BBC TV Host Investigates Herbal Products Containing Milk Thistle, Ginkgo, or Evening Primrose

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Industry Alerts

Alleged Passionflower Adulteration

The Botanical Adulterants Program (BAP) was notified by Laboratoires Arkopharma, SA (Carros, France) about the appearance of several ...

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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.

UNPA Dietary Supplement Analytical Summit
Salt Lake City, UT: November 5th-6th, 2015

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Previous Issues of “Botanical Adulterants Monitor”

Available here.

Science Update

Lateral Flow Dipstick to Detect Adulteration of Cordyceps

Wong Y-L, Wong K-L, Shaw P-C. Rapid authentication of cordyceps by lateral flow dipstick. J Pharm Biomed Anal. 2015;111:306-310

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Detection of Adulterants of Buchu, an Important South African Medicinal Plan

Raman V, Sagi S, Galal AM, Avula B, Viljoen A, Khan IA. Adulteration in commercial buchu dietary supplements: analyses of commercial and authentic buchu samples and comparative studies of Agathosma betulina and Agathosma crenulata by microscopy and HPTLC. S Afr J Bot. 2015;100:122-131.

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Authentication of Horsetail Using Thin-Layer Chromatography and DNA Barcoding

Saslis-Lagoudakis CH, Bruun-Lund S, Iwanycki NE, et al. Identification of common horsetail (Equisetum arvense L.; Equisetaceae) using thin layer chromatography versus DNA barcoding. Sci Rep. 2015;5:11942. doi: 10.1038/srep11942.

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HPLC-MS Methods for Quantification of Yohimbine in Yohimbe Bark and to Distinguish Synthetic Yohimbine HCl from Yohimbine-Containing Bark Extracts

Lucas D, Neal-Kababick J, Zweigenbaum J. Characterization and quantitation of yohimbine and its analogs in botanicals and dietary supplements using LC/QTOF-MS and LC/QQQ-MS for determination of the presence of bark extract and yohimbine adulteration. J AOAC Int. 2015;98(2):330-335.

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USP Publishes New Chapter on Adulteration of Dietary Supplements with Drugs and Drug Analogs

Proposed USP Chapter 2251: Adulteration of Dietary Supplements with Drugs and Drug Analogs.



New Research Presented at the American Society of Pharmacognosy Meeting

Genetic and Chemical Distinction of Three Licorice Species

Reviewed: Simmler C, Gauthier L, Anderson JR, et al. The combination of DNA barcoding and metabolomics for the multi-constituents characterization of licorice botanicals. Poster presentation PG3 at: American Society of Pharmacognosy Annual Meeting; July 25, 2015; Copper Mountain, C.



Analysis of the Maca Metabolome by NMR to Detect Adulteration

Reviewed: Zhao J, Wang M, Khan IA. Detection of adulteration in dietary supplements: maca (Lepidium meyenii) case study by NMR approach. Poster presentation PG12 at: American Society of Pharmacognosy Annual Meeting; July 26, 2015; Copper Mountain, CO.



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

AHPA Botanical Identity References Compendium:

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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 Nov 3, 2015)*

Financial Underwriters

21st Century Healthcare

AdvoCare International L.P.

Agilent Technologies, Inc.

Aloecorp, Inc.

Amen Clinics

Amway/Nutrilite Health Institute

Artemis International, Inc.

Atrium Innovations

Aveda Corporation

Beachbody, LLC

BI Nutraceuticals


Bionorica SE


Botanical Liaisons

Bruker BioSpin


Cepham, Inc.

Chemi Nutra

CNCA Health

Crila Health

dicentra, Inc.

Doctor’s Best

Dr. Bronner's Magic Soaps

DolCas Biotech, LLC

Douglas Laboratories

Draco Natural Products

DSM Nutritional Products, Inc.

Emerson Ecologics

Enzymatic Therapy, Inc.

Ethical Naturals, Inc.

Eu Yan Sang International




Flavex Naturextrakte GmbH


Gaia Herbs

GE Nutrients, Inc.

GNC, Inc.

Healthy Lifestyle Brands, LLC

Helios Corp.

Herb Pharm

Herbalife International, Inc.

Horphag Research


Indena USA, Inc.

Indfrag Limited

Ingredient Identity

Jarrow Formulas

Layn USA, Inc.


Markan Global Enterprises, Inc.

Martin Bauer, Inc.

MediHerb / Integria Healthcare

Metagenics, Inc.

Natreon, Inc.

Natural Alternatives International, Inc.

Natural Factors Nutritional Products, Inc.
   /Bioclinic Naturals

Financial Underwriters

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

Nature's Sunshine Products

Nature's Way

Naturex, Inc.

NBTY, Inc.

New Chapter, Inc.

The New Frontier Foundation Fund of the
    Greater Cedar Rapids Community

Ningbo Greenhealth Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

Novel Ingredients

NOW Foods

Nu Skin Enterprises/Pharmanex

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

RFI Ingredients, LLC

Rosenbush and Zimmerman Family Fund

Sabinsa Corporation

Schwabe North America


Shaklee Corp.

Standard Process, Inc.

Strategic Sourcing, Inc.

Thorne Research, Inc.

Traditional Medicinals, Inc.

Triarco Industries, Inc.


Univera, Inc.

Valensa International

V.D.F. FutureCeuticals

Verdure Sciences

Vitamin Shoppe

Whole Foods Market

Trade Associations

Australian Self Medication Industry (Australia)

Australian Tea Tree Industry Association (Australia)

British Herbal Medicine Association (UK)

Complementary Medicines Australia (Australia)

Consumer Healthcare Products Association (US)

Council for Responsible Nutrition (US)

International Alliance of Dietary/Food Supplement Associations (IADSA)

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

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

British Columbia Institute of Technology


Covance Laboratories

Eurofins Scientific Inc.

Flora Research Labs

NSF International

Spectrix Labs

Tampa Bay Analytical


Delicious Living


Functional Ingredients

Holistic Primary Care

Informa Exhibitions US

Integrator Blog

Media Relations, Inc.

Modern Healthcare Practitioner

Natural Foods Merchandiser

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


Research Institutes

Korean Ginseng Research Institute

Shanghai Research Center for TCM Modernization/Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica of the Chinese Academy of Sciences


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