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I guess that's why they call it the blues. (From the Editor).

As if the herbal segment of the industry wasn't suffering enough, adding the recent news about St. John's Wort is enough to make me depressed.

A study sponsored by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), was recently published in JAMA. The study set out to assess the efficacy of St. John's Wort in major depressive disorder and concluded that H. perforatum--the active component in St. John's Wort--was of no benefit to patients with moderately severe major depression. My reaction to this study was so what? St. John's Wort is not intended to treat severe forms of depression.

As I read the headlines of major newspapers following publication of the study, I recalled the famous words uttered by baseball great Yogi Berra, who said "it's like deja vu all over again." Wasn't it less than a year ago that similar findings were published in the same journal with virtually the same conclusions? Yes. In fact, it was exactly a year ago April that headlines such as "St. John's Wort Is Ineffective" graced the pages of several national newspapers.

It seems to me that we have not come very far in our battle against negative press. Are we fighting a losing battle or are these simply growing pains of an industry still in its infancy? To me this is depressing because after all the strides this industry has made to change its reputation, the "we just can't win" cliche still applies.

It is obvious that we have our work cut out for us as Jim Lassiter points out in this month's article on the possible repeal of DSHEA. In order to avoid this he suggested that the industry work to change those things not in line with the promise of DSHEA and clean our own house before there comes a set of laws that make this work impossible. Take a look at his article on page 102 in which he poses the question, "It's Not Broken But Should It Be Fixed?" He takes an interesting look at the forces outside the industry who are counted in opposition and poised to strike at anytime. His solution is very simple--be prepared.

On a lighter note, women are becoming the focus of many nutraceuticals companies as they work tirelessly to tailor products for women's needs. This segment has been exhibiting explosive growth and shows no signs of slowing down. Our women's health article this month, which can be found on page 36, goes into great detail about the arsenal of nutraceuticals that can aid women throughout their lifecycle.

As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.
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Publication:Nutraceuticals World
Date:May 1, 2002
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