In an ongoing effort to learn more about herbal remedies, the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is pouring $6 million into a new center for Hypericum perforatum (St John's wort) and Echinacea pallida (Echinacea) research in Ames, Iowa. Reputed to alleviate depression and colds, respectively, the two supplements are among the best selling in the United States, although little research backs their popularity.
The new center brings together pharmacologists, nutrition scientists, molecular biologists, botanists, and clinicians from the University of Iowa (Iowa City) and Iowa State University (Ames). It joins five other recently created NIH-funded botanical research centers focused on the biological activity and clinical use of tea and grape extracts, soy isoflavones, and other supplements.
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