Workshop To Evaluate Research Needs On The Safety Of Medicinal Herbs

July 31, 1998

A public workshop to evaluate what research may be needed to ensure the safety of medicinal herbs will be held at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, N.C., Sept. 23 and 24.

NIEHS, which is a part of the National Institutes of Health, is sponsoring the workshop with the National Toxicology Program, NIH's Office of Dietary Supplements, and it's Office of Research on Women's Health; and the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion; the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Special Nutrition, and the Society for the Advancement of Women's Health Research.

The sessions, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, are open to the public, limited only by the space available. Advance registration is recommended. There will be time allotted for interested persons who register and request time to speak. The time allotted for each presenter will be dependent on the number of speakers.

Herbal medicines are part of a growing, multi-billion-dollar dietary supplement industry. As many as 1,500 botanicals are sold in the United States as dietary supplements or ethnic traditional medicines.

Medicinal herbs are not, however, subject to testing requirements for effectiveness or safety. This workshop will bring together an international panel of experts to discuss what research, if any, is needed to address public health concerns related to their use.

On Wednesday, Sept. 23, the keynote address will be presented by Dr. Norman R. Farnsworth of the University of Chicago. His subject is Science, Politics, Public Opinion and Herbal Dietary Supplements.

Sessions will follow on the benefits and risks associated with the use of medicinal herbs, with experts from the U.S., Japan, Germany and India. The day will end with an open discussion and public comment.

Thursday, Sept. 24, this session will focus on current research on millions of herbs in the U.S. This session will be followed by a panel discussion of additional research needed on medicinal herbs. The workshop will conclude with an open discussion to identify and recommend additional topics for consideration.

To register, submit name, address, institutional affiliation, department and address, telephone, fax and e-mail address (when available) to Jaime Edge, NIEHS, Box 12233, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709, or by fax to 919-41-0295, or e-mail to

NIH/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences

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