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NIH funds botanical center in Iowa to study health effects of Echinacea and St. John's wort

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), components of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), today announced a 5-year, $6 million grant for the establishment of a research center based in Ames, Iowa to study two botanical dietary supplement ingredients, Echinacea and Hypericum (St. John's wort). Echinacea is reputed to ward off colds and other infections, while St. John's wort is purported to combat mild depression.

The new Center for Dietary Supplement Research brings together two traditionally strong research institutions, Iowa State University in Ames and the University of Iowa in Iowa City. The Center Director, Diane F. Birt, Ph.D., chairs the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Iowa State University and is an expert in nutrition and its relation to disease. Other Center scientists have expertise in toxicology, medicinal pharmacology, clinical medicine, epidemiology, nutrition, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, botany, horticulture and statistics.

"The new center joins five other centers to move the NIH into exciting scientific areas relating to dietary supplements used by millions of people in the U.S. and around the world," said Paul Coates, Ph.D., ODS Director. The new Center for Dietary Supplement Research joins established NIH Centers located at the University of California, Los Angeles; University of Illinois at Chicago; University of Missouri; Purdue University along with the University of Alabama at Birmingham; and the University of Arizona. The various centers are being funded by the NIH Office of Dietary Supplements, NIEHS, the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and other organizations within the National Institutes of Health. The Centers are expected to greatly advance the scientific base of knowledge on botanicals, including issues of their effectiveness, safety, and biological action. NIEHS Director Kenne
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Contact: Kelli Marciel
marcielk@od.nih.gov
301-496-4819
NIH/Office of the Director
25-Jul-2002


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