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American Botanical Council Publishes a History of Adulteration
Date:11/30/2011

AUSTIN, Texas, Nov. 30, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Botanical Council announces the publication of "A Brief History of Adulteration of Herbs, Spices, and Botanical Drugs" by noted botanist, author, and photographer Steven Foster(1). The article appears in the just-released Fall 2011 issue of HerbalGram (#92).(1)

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20100430/DC95601LOGO)

In the paper, Foster—who is also ABC's Board of Trustees president—provides an overview of the history of adulteration stretching back to Greco-Roman Antiquity.

Foster defines "adulteration" in the paper as "accidental, negligent, or intentional variations in identity, strength, purity, and expected outcomes from a named or at least implied identity of a drug" or food, spice, or dietary ingredient.

The article begins by emphasizing, via a humorous quote, that the practice of botanical adulteration likely began much earlier than Classical times:

"Since the memorable occasion upon which young Eve palmed off the green apple on old man Adam, more or less fraud in food handling has occurred, as opportunity has offered and occasion for profit has suggested. In the adulteration of drugs even more elasticity of conscience has been necessary to permit the almost unlimited sophistication which has been practice from time immemorial."

In a detailed and compellingly narrative fashion, the article describes 1st century methods of adulteration detection, the medieval Islamic practice of having an amin present during medicine preparation to "thwart adulteration," legislative reaction to botanical adulteration in 19th century Britain, and the Ginger Jake epidemic that crippled many U.S. citizens during Prohibition. Foster then outlines
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SOURCE American Botanical Council
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