ABC raises funds to get herbal message out

By Clarisse Douaud in Anaheim

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Herbalism, Herbal, Herb

The American Botanical Council (ABC) is armoring a fundraising
campaign to plug between $5m and $10m to protect the future of
herbal medicine for the long term, and is looking to industry and
beyond for donations.

Based in Austin, Texas, ABC is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating the public about herbals. The campaign, "Creating an Herbal Legacy", is designed to collect donations for an endowment fund, a scholarship fund as well as a green development and beautification fund. "The greater mission is education and, via education, protecting the future of herbal medicine,"​ said ABC executive director Mark Blumenthal. ABC kicked off its campaign at Expo West in Anaheim, California, with a dinner event and call for donations. However, the group is not limiting its field of potential donors to industry members. "We're going outside the box for money now,"​ said Blumenthal. The organization has created a board dedicated to finding new sources of funding that will likely include major corporations and wealthy individuals - such as celebrities - outside the industry. Blumenthal characterized prospective donors as "people who are using herbs in their daily lives already and are becoming increasingly aware of the role medicinal and aromatic plants play in self care and healthcare"​. Currently, ABC survives on a month-to-month basis for its funding needs and the endowment fund would allow the organization to both tap into the interest from the fund for operational needs as well as to use it for capital projects or as a stop gap. "We need a long term fund for stability and viability,"​ said Blumenthal. In Blumenthal's opinion, there is a lack of awareness in the United States about the health benefits associated with botanicals and ABC's raison d'etre is to change this. "I think culturally the US lags behind Western Europe and Asia in terms of its acceptance of, and inclusion of, medicinal plants as part of diet and healthcare,"​ he said. The scholarship fund is designed to prop up ABC's educational reach into mainstream healthcare professions and the public by supporting onsite pharmacy and dietician internships as well as ethnobotanical tours. "We believe that education is the principal basis for ensuring the long term viability of a healthy and robust herbal culture characterized by the responsible use of high quality, well-manufactured, properly labeled, appropriately regulated, scientifically researched, sustainably sourced herbal preparations,"​ said Blumenthal. The green development and beautification fund is being set aside to improve ABC's facilities and gardens in Austin.

Related topics: Botanicals

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