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P.O. Box 144345, Austin, TX 78714-4345 
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Website: www.herbalgram.org



Books on Medicinal Plant Nomenclature and the History of Psychedelic Use Receive 2024 ABC James A. Duke Award

AUSTIN, Texas (April 1, 2024) — The nonprofit American Botanical Council (ABC) has presented its 2024 ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award in both the reference/technical and consumer/popular categories. The recipient of the reference/technical award is American Herbal Products Association’s Herbs of Commerce, 3rd edition (American Herbal Products Association [AHPA]) by Merle Zimmermann, PhD; Holly E. Johnson, PhD; Michael McGuffin; and Wendy Applequist, PhD. The recipient of the consumer/popular award is Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind (Yale University Press) by Mike Jay.

As in previous years, ABC also named honorable mentions in each category to reflect the diverse selection of excellent works considered for the award. The honorable mention in the reference/technical category is Holistic Cancer Care: An Herbal Approach to Preventing Cancer, Helping Patients Thrive during Treatment and Minimizing the Risk of Recurrence (Storey Publishing) by Chanchal Cabrera, FNIMH, RH (AHG). In the consumer/popular category, the honorable mention goes to Seeing through the Smoke: A Cannabis Specialist Untangles the Truth About Marijuana (Globe Pequot/Prometheus) by Peter Grinspoon, MD.

ABC gives the Duke Award annually to books that contribute significantly to medicinal plant-related literature and the fields of botany, taxonomy, ethnobotany, pharmacognosy, phytomedicine, and other related disciplines. The award was created in 2006 to honor economic botanist, ethnobotanist, and author James A. Duke, PhD (1929–2017). Duke’s prestigious career achievements included decades of work as the lead medicinal plant expert at the United States Department of Agriculture and the authorship and co-authorship of more than 30 reference and consumer books. Among his many other activities and positions, he was also a co-founder of ABC and served on its Board of Trustees.

Herbs of Commerce, 3rd edition

Herbs of Commerce provides guidance to those in the US botanical industry on the standardized naming of botanical ingredients on product labels. Since the first edition in 1992, Herbs of Commerce has been an effective self-regulation tool in the US herb industry. Subsequent editions, including the second in 2000, have expanded and updated to reflect contemporary botanical nomenclature and the inclusion of more herbs present in the US market, including traditional Chinese herbs and Ayurvedic herbs. In contrast to the first edition’s 800 separate plant entries, the second edition contains approximately 2,000 entries and the third edition contains more than 2,800. Entries for each herb include the standardized common name for each plant, plus “other common names,” as well as the most recent corresponding Latin binomial(s) for each species. As with the second edition, certain entries also contain Ayurvedic and/or Pinyin (Chinese) names.

The first edition of Herbs of Commerce has been recognized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an official reference for the labeling of herbal dietary supplement products sold in the United States. AHPA filed a citizen petition with the FDA in November 2023 requesting that the agency update its reference from the first edition to the third.

Zimmermann, the managing editor of Herbs of Commerce, said: “On behalf of my co-editors, members of this edition’s Expert Advisory Council, sponsors who made this important work possible, and the many other botanical lovers who generously contributed to developing this meaningful resource, I extend our deepest gratitude to ABC for the recognition of our efforts to support the herbal and dietary supplement industries with guidance on the consistent naming of botanical ingredients. We are truly honored to receive the 2024 ABC James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award.”

Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind

Psychonauts is a historical survey of experimentation with psychoactive drugs and how these investigations expanded frontiers in psychology, art, music, medicine, and more. Jay’s scope encompasses well-known stories like Sigmund Freud’s addiction to cocaine and nicotine to those of lesser-known figures like Paschal Beverly Randolph, one of the largest importers of hashish to the United States in the 1860s. This text offers a rich and detailed overview of the culture of self-experimentation and explores how these consciousness-expanding substances influenced luminaries including dentist Horace Wells, whose work with nitrous oxide became the basis for the practice of medical anesthesia; poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge; and Thomas De Quincey, an English author best known for his 1821 autobiography Confessions of an English Opium-Eater.

In his review for HerbalGram, ethnobotanist Mark J. Plotkin praised Psychonauts for its “marvelous scope and scale,” adding that “Jay proves himself a peer of writers like Thomas De Quincey in conjuring lost times and mysteries of the mind and the cosmos.”

Much of Jay’s work focuses on the cultural history of drugs, science, medicine, and politics. In addition to his books, he contributes to London Review of Books, Literary Review, New York Review of Books, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications. His previous works include Mescaline: A Global History of the First Psychedelic (Yale University Press, 2019), Stranger than Fiction: Essays by Mike Jay (Daily Grail Publishing, 2018), and High Society: The Central Role of Mind-Altering Drugs in History, Science, and Culture (Park Street Press, 2010). In addition to his writing work, Jay also curates artwork for galleries around the United Kingdom, often to accompany and complement his written works.

“The plants currently being explored in psychedelic therapy have a deep and rich history in Indigenous cultures but have also been studied in the West for much longer than is usually recognized,” Jay wrote. “I’m delighted to accept the 2024 James A. Duke Award for Psychonauts: Drugs and the Making of the Modern Mind, and to bring attention to the forgotten figures who pioneered the scientific investigation of mind-altering plants and drugs.”

Past ABC Duke Award recipients include Medicinal Herbs in Primary Care: An Evidence-Guided Reference for Healthcare Providers (2023, reference/technical); Ginseng Diggers: A History of Root and Herb Gathering in Appalachia (2023, consumer/popular); A History of the Korean Ginseng Industry (2022, reference/technical); The Plant Hunter (2022; consumer/popular); Christopher Hobbs’s Medicinal Mushrooms (2020); Flora of the Voynich Codex (2019); Ethnopharmacologic Search for Ethnobotanical Drugs, Vol. I and II (2018); Chinese Medicinal Plants, Herbal Drugs and Substitutes (2017; reference/technical category) and Joseph Banks’ Florilegium (2017; consumer/popular category); Handbook of Essential Oils, 2nd edition (2016); Clinical Aromatherapy, 3rd edition (2015); Ancient Pathways, Ancestral Knowledge (2014); and Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, 2nd edition (2013).

The 2024 Duke awards were presented at the 19th annual ABC Celebration and Botanical Excellence Awards Ceremony on March 13, 2024, in Anaheim, California, as part of ABC’s participation in the annual Natural Products Expo West conference and trade show.

The ABC Celebration and the process of choosing and granting the ABC Botanical Excellence Awards are generously underwritten by the following ABC supporters: Alkemist Labs, Amin Talati, Applied Food Sciences, Brassica Protection Products, Eurofins, Euromed, EuroPharma, Herb Pharm, Indena, NOW Foods, PLT Health, RFI, RT Specialty, Sabinsa, and the United Natural Products Alliance.

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