|NIH Funds Center in Iowa to Study Botanicals
Used in Dietary Supplements
The Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), a component of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced a grant to Iowa State
University to study botanicals used as ingredients in dietary supplements.
A multidisciplinary research team will study Hypericum (St. John’s
wort), Prunella (Self-heal), and several types of Echinacea (for
example, Purple Coneflower) for their anti-viral and anti-inflammatory
properties. The center will be headed by Dr. Diane Birt, Distinguished
Professor at Iowa State University, and will bring together researchers
from ISU, the University of Iowa and Yale University.
“The work of all of the NIH-sponsored botanical research centers
has proven to be important in advancing science in this area. We
expect that this center at Iowa State University and the University
of Iowa will continue to provide new insights into factors that
can influence levels of bioactive components in plants and thereby
modify the biological effects of botanicals used in dietary supplements,” said
Paul Coates, Ph.D., Director of ODS.
NIH currently funds six dietary supplement research centers focused
on botanicals. Scientists within these centers emphasize basic
and preclinical research of potential benefit to human health.
The studies at ISU will focus on identifying compounds and chemical
profiles for anti-viral and anti-inflammatory activities and complement
research at other centers that are studying the botanicals and
inflammation. In recent years, inflammation has been identified
as a common denominator of a number of chronic diseases, such as
The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
(NCCAM) at NIH will co-fund the Iowa center. “Given that millions
of Americans are using natural products, this research center will
join several other NIH-funded botanical centers in conducting key
research to determine whether and by what mechanisms botanicals
may serve as effective treatments or preventive approaches,” said
Ruth L. Kirschstein, M.D., Acting Director of NCCAM.
The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible
for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers.
This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs
and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director
also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating
specific areas of research throughout NIH. Additional information
is available at http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/.
The Office of Dietary Supplements was established in 1995 as a
result of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act. The
mission of ODS is to strengthen knowledge and understanding of
dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, stimulating
and supporting research, disseminating research results, and educating
the public to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for
the U.S. population.
The mission of the National Center for Complementary and Alternative
Medicine is to explore complementary and alternative medical practices
in the context of rigorous science, train CAM researchers, and
disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals.
For additional information, call NCCAM’s Clearinghouse toll free
at 1-888-644-6226, or visit nccam.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.