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American Botanical Council

P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345
Phone: 512-926-4900 x129; Fax: 512-926-2345
Contact: Public Relations
Website: www.herbalgram.org

Press Release

Applied Food Sciences Supports Adopt-an-Herb Program through Kava Adoption

AUSTIN, Texas (September 30, 2016) — The American Botanical Council (ABC) is pleased to announce the adoption of kava (Piper methysticum) by Applied Food Sciences, Inc. (AFS). The Adopt-an-Herb Program supports ABC’s robust HerbMedPro database, an invaluable resource for consumers, students, and all members of the herb and dietary supplement community. The generosity of AFS in adopting kava allows this vital resource to remain up to date with the latest research and pharmacological information on this South Pacific herb.

HerbMedPro is a comprehensive, interactive online database that provides access to important scientific and clinical research data on the uses and health effects of more than 250 herbs.

“Kava is an herb with a long ethnobotanical history in Polynesia, and it produces clinically-documented anti-anxiety benefits,” said Mark Blumenthal, ABC’s founder and executive director. “ABC is deeply grateful to Applied Food Sciences for its adoption of kava on the HerbMedPro database, which will allow ABC to stay current with emerging research on kava’s benefits and new information that helps to clarify prior concerns about its relative safety.”

“Kava’s long history of use in the South Pacific islands demonstrates that it is a safe, effective, and useful tool with many important health benefits when used in the right form and when the correctly identified cultivars are used,” said Chris Fields, vice president of scientific affairs at Applied Food Sciences.

“Applied Food Sciences is fully invested in working together with farmers, agronomists, and the research community to provide the entire supply chain with the appropriate tools to bring sustainable, safe, and high-quality kava ingredients to the market,” she continued.

“We are doing this by leading collaborative changes in implementing the six-point plan that has been defined by the kava industry working groups, developing and executing effective growing and harvesting practices, acquiring and improving methods for cultivar identification and kavalactone content, and investigating and educating on optimum standards and best practices in the industry. Awareness of these efforts is essential. Therefore, it is so important for us to partner with ABC to help our industry make educated, responsible choices about sourcing kava.”

About Kava

Kava, also known as kava kava, is both the common name for Piper methysticum and the name of a ceremonial beverage made from the root of the plant, which is a member of the pepper family. It is native to Southeast Asia and the islands of the South Pacific, where the drink, made from the ground root macerated in water, has been consumed as part of rituals for hundreds of years. Currently, kava is being investigated by researchers for its anxiolytic, sedative, anticonvulsive, and antispasmodic properties for conditions including anxiety, insomnia, and related stress and nervous disorders.

The formerly official German Commission E Monographs approved kava for use in conditions of nervous anxiety, stress, and restlessness. Another monograph compiled by the European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP), a group of medicinal plant research experts in Europe, noted the use of kava preparations for anxiety, tension, and restlessness arising from various causes of non-psychotic origin. 

About Applied Food Sciences, Inc.

Applied Food Sciences specializes in the research and development of functional botanical ingredients for use in foods, beverages, and nutritional supplements. The six-point plan the company has helped implement involves educating people at the farm level to cultivate only Noble Kava Cultivars and about best practices for harvesting and processing them. The plan outlines the importance of standardizing the concentrations of specific kavalactones to achieve optimum safety and efficacy at the recommended intake. Finally, AFS stresses the importance of developing a validated laboratory method for the accurate quantification of kavalactones (i.e., a class of lactone compounds found in kava) in extracts, root powder, and finished product formulations.

More information about Applied Food Sciences will be available at its Vendorbrief at the SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas. The event, titled “The Return of Safe Kava,” is Friday, October 7, 2:00 - 2:25 p.m. (PDT). The company’s recent kava white paper is available on its website at www.appliedfoods.com.

About the American Botanical Council’s Adopt-an-Herb Program

Applied Food Sciences is one of 40 companies that have supported ABC’s educational efforts to collect, organize, and disseminate reliable, traditional, and science-based information, including clinical studies, on herbs, medicinal plants, and other botanical- and fungal-based ingredients through the Adopt-an-Herb program. This program encourages companies, organizations, and individuals to “adopt” one or more specific herbs for inclusion and ongoing maintenance in the HerbMedPro database. This enables consumers, researchers, educators, media, health practitioners, government agencies, and members of industry (including retailers and others) to have easy access to abstracts of the latest scientific and clinical publications on the many aspects, properties, and benefits of the adopted herb. To date, 45 herbs have been adopted.

Each adopted herb is continuously researched for new scientific articles and pharmacological, toxicological, and clinical studies, ensuring that its HerbMedPro record stays current.

HerbMedPro is available to ABC members at the Academic level and higher. Its “sister” site, HerbMed, is available free of charge to the general public. In keeping with the ABC’s position as an independent research and education organization, herb adopters do not influence the scientific information that is compiled for their respective adopted herbs.