Richters HerbLetter

Date: 98/04/26
1. FDA to Restrict Herbal and Dietary Pill Claims
2. Ugandan Herbal AIDS Remedy to Undergo Clinical Testing
3. War Against Coca and Opium Poppy May Harm Amazon
4. Herbal Imitations Surface as New Anti-Impotence Drug Takes Off
5. Organic Hydroponic Venture to Produce Lettuce, Herbs, Edible Flowers
6. Herbal Help for Florida Gardeners
7. Herb Research Foundation Refutes Claim Echinacea is Ineffective
8. More Americans Than Ever Are Hungry for Herbal Supplements
9. "The Herbal Bed" Creaks on Broadway
10. Herb Business News
11. Correction: Melatonin in Herbs

1. FDA to Restrict Herbal and Dietary Pill Claims
WASHINGTON, Apr 24, AP -- Hoping to help consumers better understand dietary supplements, the government said Friday such products cannot legally claim to do such things as "prevent cancer" or "lower cholesterol."

Consumers buy some $5 billion worth of dietary supplements each year -- pills, capsules and teas that are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration as safe and effective before they hit the market.

Federal law allows the products to make truthful claims that they maintain the healthful "structure or function" of the body -- but they may not claim to treat diseases. Actual treatments must undergo rigorous scientific study not required for supplements.

The question for dietary supplements was where to draw the line: Some companies argue, for example, that promising to lower cholesterol -- or "maintain healthy cholesterol" -- was not the same as claiming to treat heart disease, even though cholesterol levels are key to heart health.

Friday, the FDA proposed clearing the confusion by prohibiting supplements from even implying they can diagnose, treat, prevent or cure a disease or definitive disease symptom.

"Our hope is once this regulation goes final, the industry will see a safe harbor and have an incentive to stay within it," said FDA Deputy Commissioner William Schulz.

The rule would not let supplements claim to:

--Protect against the development of cancer, reduce the pain and stiffness of arthritis or lower cholesterol. Nor can they use such names as "Hepatacure," which implies it cures liver problems.

--Help the body respond to disease, by saying they "support the body’s ability to resist infection or fight a virus."

--Substitute for a drug, through a name such as "Herbal Prozac" or claims that they contain aspirin or another well-known drug.

But supplement claims clearly targeted to help a well person stay well would be OK. The FDA said naming a supplement "Cardiohealth," for instance, is legal, as is saying it "supports the immune system," "reduces stress" or "helps maintain cardiovascular function."

Overall, the proposal "will be helpful," said Annette Dickinson of the Council for Responsible Nutrition, which represents supplement-makers.

The industry agrees with many of FDA’s examples, she said, "but there will be some gray areas," including the cholesterol question, that companies will discuss during a 120-day public comment period before the FDA finalizes the rule.

But one consumer advocate called the proposal inadequate. Bruce Silverglade of the Center for Science in the Public Interest questioned how letting a supplement advertise that it "promotes regularity" was any different to the average consumer than calling it a laxative -- which is a drug.

2. Ugandan Herbal AIDS Remedy to Undergo Clinical Testing
KAMPALA, Apr 23, Xinhua -- Professor Charles Ssali, a controversial AIDS expert, agreed to accept a test on his AIDS drug called Mariadina, "the New Vision" paper reported Thursday.

Mariadina will be tested alongside with other internationally prevalent AIDS drugs such as AZT, said the paper.

The test will be carried out in joint clinical research center (Jcrc), the professor said.

Uganda National Drug Authority banned Mariadina last year and impounded a quantity of the drug. Some local specialists said they can not determine if the drug can fight AIDS effectively or not.

Mariadina is extracted from herbs. But its component has never been revealed.

3. War Against Coca and Opium Poppy May Harm Amazon
By Paul Haven

BOGOTA, Apr 23, AP -- Deep in the jungle, a Turbo-Thrush plane swoops to within 100 feet of a field of illegal drug crops, lets loose a cloud of herbicide over the plants and soars skyward again before heavily armed leftist rebels can open fire.

It has become an almost daily -- if hair-raisingly dangerous -- routine in Colombia as police undertake an ambitious program to eradicate thousands of acres of coca and poppy -- the plants used to make cocaine and heroin.

Now, at the urging of the United States, Colombia is considering switching to a more powerful, granular herbicide called tebuthiuron -- a new coca-killer that can be dropped from higher altitudes, out of range of the gun-toting rebels guarding the crops.

Environmental groups and some top Colombian officials oppose the switch, contending that tebuthiuron, produced by several companies, is dangerous to human beings, animals and the delicate Amazon rain forest -- one of the world’s treasure chests of biological diversity.

"We can’t authorize at this time a substance that could harm our ecosystem," argued Environment Minister Eduardo Verano. "We cannot attack the Amazon."

He has refused to sign off on a proposed field test, asserting that tebuthiuron could turn the lush jungle into a prairie.

A Colombian government commission will decide in coming weeks whether to approve testing on a wide swath of jungle.

Environmentalists in the United States note that tebuthiuron is most often used to clear weeds near highways and is rarely applied near desirable vegetation.

"It is a very large contradiction to say it is safe to use" in a rain forest, said Mauricio Castro, head of the Colombian office of the World Wildlife Fund. The chemical could seep into ground and surface water in dangerous concentrations, lingering for a year or more, he says.

Charles Helling, lead scientist of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s narcotics group and member of a U.S. team that briefed Colombian officials on tebuthiuron last month, disagrees.

"The benefits are so strong," he said by telephone from his Beltsville, Md., office, adding: "In my judgment, the environmental risk is very slight."

The urgency of crop-eradication efforts are evident. Colombia overtook Peru last year as the top coca producer, with 307 square miles of crops under cultivation, the State Department says. Despite a record eradication effort, police haven’t destroyed crops as fast as new ones are planted.

Colombian traffickers control 80 percent of the global cocaine market and a growing share of the heroin trade. Leftist rebels have increasingly turned to working with drug traffickers and guarding coca crops to finance their decades-old insurgency.

So is tebuthiuron, backed by Colombia’s police chief, the answer? In the late 1980s, Peru tested the herbicide, but opted against using it for fear of provoking social unrest in coca-growing regions.

Ivonne Alcala, head of the Colombian anti-drug office, expects such protests here: In 1996, farmers staged a violent protest against glyphosate, the herbicide currently in use, leaving seven people dead and about 100 injured.

"If we were spraying holy water, they would say the holy water is causing birth defects," Alcala said.

If it is used, tebuthiuron would be dropped in tiny pellets, not a mist, allowing pilots to fly higher and faster. That would let them avoid rebel fire that has brought down 12 anti-drug aircraft since 1994. The pellets also make the herbicide more resistant to rain, which frequently washes away glyphosate.

Helling said tests he conducted indicate the chemical would disappear faster in the humid forest than in the United States, making it less harmful. But even those who say it is relatively safe acknowledge it could be dangerous to children or people with low resistance.

"Individuals have different levels of sensitivity," said William Smith, a Cornell University agriculture professor. "I myself would not like to be in a spray drift area where this material was being applied."

4. Herbal Imitations Surface as New Anti-Impotence Drug Takes Off
By Lauran Neergaard

WASHINGTON, Apr 22, AP -- The new anti-impotence pill is so popular that copycats are popping up: Pfizer Inc. is fighting companies selling unapproved look-alikes on the Internet and over the phone.

The real pill, approved by the Food and Drug Administration as an effective, painless way to restore a man’s sexual performance, is called Viagra.

Tuesday, Pfizer won a temporary restraining order against a company selling a pill called Vaegra -- and no sooner did the judge’s ruling arrive than Pfizer got word about an Internet site selling another copycat, Viagro.

Pfizer says it doesn’t know just what these pills contain, but it will defend its patented drug, which just went on the market and already is so popular that it is expected to earn $300 million this year.

"We plan to vigorously defend our Viagra trademark, and the public in the process," said Pfizer spokeswoman Mariann Caprino.

The FDA is concerned as well.

"We’re looking into these products and these claims," said FDA spokesman Lawrence Bachorik. "If illegal drug claims are being made, we will take the appropriate action."

The FDA says Viagra, known chemically as sildenafil, is the only oral medication ever proven to treat impotence. Federal law forbids dietary supplements to advertise as drug treatments for diseases.

In a brief statement Tuesday, the maker of Vaegra -- the phone-order version -- said his company "never intended" to violate Pfizer’s trademark.

"We are a very small company that tried to sell a very good product," said David Brady of American Urological Clinic. "We wish Pfizer all the best luck with their new product."

Viagro’s 800-number went unanswered Tuesday afternoon; a recording said the company’s voice-mail was full.

Men who want the real Viagra need a doctor’s prescription.

But Pfizer received in the mail documents urging men to call the American Urological Clinic toll-free to order Vaegra.

The documents never mention the FDA, or say exactly what Vaegra is. But a press release provided to U.S. District Court in Atlanta says, "The American Urological Clinic has just received notification of approval to become the United States sole licensed distributor of Vaegra," and claims clinical studies found it successful in 70 percent of impotent men. The press release includes quotes from a Newsweek article praising the real Viagra.

Vaegra "will mislead the public and result in the denial of effective medical treatment to many of those suffering from this serious and even devastating medical condition," Pfizer argued in court.

The court issued a temporary restraining order Tuesday; a hearing on Pfizer’s trademark infringement lawsuit against Vaegra has not yet been set.

Now Pfizer is investigating Viagro, the Internet-sold herbal supplement that uses the real "Viagra" in its Internet address. Indeed, a public advocacy group that was searching the Internet for Viagra information stumbled onto the Viagro site on Tuesday because of the name mixup.

"People aren’t sophisticated enough to know it’s Viagro and not Viagra," said Jeff Stier, an attorney with the American Council on Science and Health in New York.

For $99, Internet users can fill out an "online prescription," getting a three-month supply of "50-milligram pills." The order form never identifies Viagro as an herbal supplement, although users who skip the order form to read more about the product see it is "a herbal analog of the new popular impotence pill."

5. Organic Hydroponic Venture to Produce Lettuce, Herbs and Edible Flowers
AUSTIN, Apr 21, M2 Communications -- When graduate student Chris Freeman hit upon an idea for advanced studies in horticulture, he wasn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. But he won’t have to. Freeman is researching how to grow vegetables organically in water.

"I won’t need soil," Freeman said of his hopeful venture. He envisions providing world-class chefs at restaurants in Houston with the freshest of vegetables taken straight from their watery nutritious growing medium, with root still intact, to a restaurant kitchen in under two hours time.

"This is an untapped area of horticulture," said Dr. Harvey Lang, assistant professor of horticulture at Texas A&M University and Freeman’s lead professor. "Hydroponics is becoming more popular and the organic part of it is taking off, too."

Organic product sales totaled $3.5 billion in 1996, according to Organic Trade Association. Organic products are now available in every food category, from fresh produce to processed products, and more than 5 percent of all new food and beverage introductions in 1996 were products made with organic ingredients, the association reports.

Freeman said the idea for growing organic vegetables hydroponically or without soil began as a hobby in 1990 when he was working for a large corporation in Houston. He was from a farming family, but he got interested in raising plants hydroponically. Freeman began from scratch, making the nutritious supplements for the water medium himself.

"But then I realized that I am not interested in being a fertilizer maker," he said. So, he brought his knowledge of growing plants hydroponically to graduate school to couple that with more intense research on what is necessary to develop the enterprise commercially and with advanced studies in business and marketing.

"Working this out in graduate school is a good way to test it when I don’t have to worry about the bottom line and to get a feel for running a business," he said.

From the production standpoint, Freeman is researching ways to get higher yields per square foot of hydroponic space, how many square feet will be necessary to make a profitable business and how to minimize costs per square foot. He is focusing on fancy varieties of lettuce, fresh herbs and edible flowers.

Although he feels there is wide "consumer appeal for organic, pest-free, healthy and flavorful vegetables," Freeman admits that he still needs to learn more about how to market unique ideas to the end users, such as chefs in a given locale.

Lang said the information gained from these studies will provide Freeman as well as others valuable information about commercial production of hydroponic organic vegetables.

6. Herbal Help for Florida Gardeners
TAMPA, April 16, PRNewswire -- National Herb Week, May 4 to 10, must have been created for gardeners in northern states. Summer is the most difficult time for Florida residents to grow herbs. Like people, herbs suffer through the seasonal heat and humidity.

But with a little help from Monica Brandies, author of HERBS AND SPICES FOR FLORIDA GARDENS, you can select herbs that are tough summer survivors. And she tells you how to keep them, as well as other herbs in your garden, growing well through the summer in shade, in pots, and in sheltered areas.

To increase your chance of success, Monica suggests that a healthy plant will withstand more cold or heat than a stressed one, so the better you get it growing the fewer you will lose. But don’t despair, everyone loses some.

Says Monica, "A few of the most popular herbs such as lamb’s ears, summer savory, tarragon, catnip, lemon balm, some mint, lavender, parsley, santolina, scented geranium, sorrel, and thyme will have difficulty during the summer. Many popular herbs such as thyme and lavender are Mediterranean in origin. They go nearly dormant in their dry, rocky native land. They will do better if protected from drenching rains and moist heat. Plant them in pots in a covered area such as a porch or sunroom. Or they can be transplanted to shady parts of the landscape until summer is over. Herbs are tough. They bounce back from being too dry but they die from being too wet."

Fortunately, many herbs and spices are naturally summer survivors, even in Florida’s unusual climate. Monica recommends such stalwarts as aloe, anise hyssop, basil, cardamon, chicory, chive, comfrey, culantro (which tastes like oregano), eucalyptus, garlic chive, ginger, grapefruit sage, lemon grass, lemon verbena, tropical oregano, passion flower, black pepper, pineapple sage, rosemary, sage, summer tarragon, and winter savory.

Monica Brandies (also author of Florida Gardening: The Newcomer’s Survival Manual), grows hundreds of herbs in her Brandon, Florida garden. Her book, Herbs and Spices for Florida Gardens, tells how to grow herbs in Florida and use them for scent, flavor, health, beauty, and garden color.

7. Herb Research Foundation Refutes Claim Echinacea is Ineffective
BOULDER, Colo., Apr 15, M2 Communications -- Herb Research Foundation President Robert S. McCaleb refutes a recent report by the Center For Science In The Public Interest (CSPI) claiming that echinacea is ineffective and possibly dangerous. The CSPI report entitled Echinacea: Still Out In The Cold claims that echinacea may depress a key part of the immune system and cautions consumers that "taking echinacea -- in any form -- could be a dicey proposition for some."

"I’m not surprised that CSPI is still out in the cold about echinacea," says McCaleb. "Last year, CSPI told us ginkgo doesn’t work. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) supports the effectiveness of ginkgo.

Echinacea has a combination of hundreds of clinical and laboratory studies confirming that it safely boosts the immune system. Millions of European consumers, scientists, physicians and pharmacists trust and use echinacea against colds and flu. Millions of Americans have now also experienced the effectiveness of echinacea."

Echinacea has a rich tradition of medicinal use and was prominent in modern American medicine in the early twentieth century. Europeans have used it extensively since the 1930s. This native American herb, also known as purple coneflower, is used against colds and flu, minor infections and a host of other ailments. Echinacea has an excellent safety record and is well tolerated by most people.

"The CSPI has consistently opposed supplement use," notes McCaleb. "It’s fairly clear that they have a bias. They seem to expect the same multi-million dollar research required for new drug approval. New drugs are chemicals to which our bodies have never been exposed, and they carry unknown risks. Echinacea is a mild plant extract with dozens of generations of safe use by humans."

8. More Americans Than Ever Are Hungry for Herbal Supplements
BOULDER, Colo., Apr 14, PRNewswire -- More Americans than ever before have used herbal supplements, according to a national study commissioned by Celestial Seasonings. The study discovered that 37 percent of Americans have taken herbal supplements. This number revealed a ten-fold growth of herbal supplements usage in the U.S. when compared to a separate 1990 study reported in a 1993 article in The New England Journal of Medicine stating that only three percent of Americans in 1990 had tried herbal medicine in the past year.

"The increase in consumers’ confidence in these products is indicative of the overall explosive growth in this category," says Celestial Seasonings President and CEO Steve Hughes. "There are already 60 million Americans taking herbal supplements regularly and more stores are selling them than ever before. There’s no doubt people are becoming more comfortable with herbal supplements. I believe we are at the forefront of the next great consumer category."

Despite this rapid growth, of those taking herbal supplements reported in the Celestial Seasonings study, only two percent felt they knew a great deal about them. Even those who use the products are looking for more information. According to the study, 43 percent of respondents who said they are taking or are interested in taking supplements would like to know more about the benefits of the products. Sixty-five percent of the same audience indicated that they know "just a little" about herbal supplements, with only 19 percent knowing "quite a bit" and two percent knowing "a great deal" about them.

The study also revealed that among those respondents who have never taken herbal supplements, at least 45 percent said they are interested in taking them, but haven’t either because they are uncertain about the brands available, have fears about taking them, or just don’t know enough about them to take them. Even 40 percent of the respondents who said they felt herbal supplements are unsafe attributed their belief to a lack of knowledge about the products.

"Americans are interested, and in fact, are taking herbal supplements, but they are hungry for more information," says Hughes. "Information has driven the growth of this category. For example, St. John’s Wort was not very well known, but when the media began to cover it, it jumped from below the top ten herbs to a top seller."

In response to this demand, Celestial Seasonings is introducing a full line of 17 herbal supplement single extracts and blends to natural food, supermarket and grocery stores. Borrowing from its expertise and history in herbal tea, Celestial utilizes its extensive herbal network to source the finest quality herbs from around the world for its supplements line. Celestial’s line contains eight of the most popular single herb extracts, such as garlic, ginseng and St. John’s Wort. In these single herb products, the active, effective ingredients are extracted from the herbs, then scientifically measured, concentrated and standardized. By this process, Celestial is able to produce a scientifically reliable and consistent amount in each dosage.

The study was conducted from February 28 to March 13, 1998. During the study, more than 550 individuals throughout the U.S. were surveyed via telephone.

9. "The Herbal Bed" Creaks on Broadway
By Michael Kuchwara

NEW YORK, Apr 16, AP -- The mattress springs creak, even if they are made out of leaves, in "The Herbal Bed," an old-fashioned drama filled with old-fashioned emoting.

The play, which opened Thursday at Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theater, concerns Shakespeare’s daughter, Susanna, and her fling in the herb garden with a local haberdasher -- and what happens when a vindictive employee of the woman’s husband gossips about it. She sues him for slander.

Author Peter Whelan takes his time setting up this turgid 17th-century tale of adultery. It is a story that has eerie 20th-century reverberations in the way its main character rationalizes her way out of a moral dilemma. And wins. This fascinating equivocation doesn’t occur until well into the second act. And by then, you may have lost patience with the production, which has been directed in stately slow motion by Michael Attenborough.

Susanna’s husband is a saintly man and a bore, which may be part of the play’s problem. This dedicated physician even makes house calls, armed with packets of powders and bottles of potions made from his homegrown herbs.

Act 1 is filled with lengthy explanations of what herb is used for what ailment -- laundry-list discussions that would not be out of place at your local health food store or holistic pharmacy.

"In place of love, he has let me learn a little of his art," Susanna says, praising her husband for allowing her the satisfaction of assisting in his work. For other needs, she turns to the handsome haberdasher.

When word gets out, she sues the randy assistant, defending herself in front of a wily vicar general. This cat-and-mouse confrontation is skillfully played out, particularly by Simon Jones. His portrait of the cleric is stylish and witty, two qualities in short supply in the rest of "The Herbal Bed."

The other actors are of the hale and hardy variety, robust but not subtle. Laila Robins gives a determined performance as Susanna. She is forceful but not sympathetic. Neither is her betrayed husband, pompously played by Tuck Milligan. You actually feel sorry for Susanna’s earnest, bewildered paramour. Armand Schultz captures his confusion with some credibility. Amelia Campbell, as an exuberant servant, and Trent Dawson, as the doctor’s jealous employee, offer strenuous portraits of minor characters.

The fact that the central character is related to Shakespeare doesn’t add much to the story. The Bard is not a character, although he is talked about -- and at the finale, he is heard arriving at the good doctor’s home for treatment. It’s an unsatisfactory ending to an unsatisfactory play.

10. Herb Business News
Herbalife: Reports 23 Percent Sales Increase

LOS ANGELES, Apr 22, Business Wire -- Herbalife International Inc. (Nasdaq/NM:HERBA)(Nasdaq/NM:HERBB) Wednesday reported a 26 percent increase in earnings per share for the first quarter ended March 31, 1998, representing the company’s tenth consecutive quarter of comparable period increases in sales and earnings.

Net income for the first quarter increased 24 percent to $14.8 million, or $0.48 per diluted share, from $11.9 million, or $0.38 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 1997. Retail sales increased 23 percent to $398.4 million from $323.9 million in the year-ago first quarter. Net sales rose to $209.8 million from $170 million reported in last year’s first quarter, a 23 percent increase.

Herbalife President and CEO Mark Hughes commented: "Sales growth during the first quarter remained strong across all three geographic regions and product categories. Momentum achieved in Europe and the Americas in the second half of 1997 continued into the new year and the Asia/Pacific Rim region also had an excellent quarter once again.

"Our results confirm the effectiveness of our strategic program for enhancing sales in existing markets, which led to very encouraging results in several of our more mature countries."

The company’s substantial sales growth in the first quarter was again achieved despite a significantly stronger U.S. dollar relative to foreign currency, particularly in Asia.

Herbalife markets weight management products, nutritional supplements, personal care products and home technology products in 37 countries worldwide. Herbalife products are available only through a network of independent distributors who purchase the products directly from the company.

Nature’s Sunshine: Reports Record First Quarter

PROVO, Utah, Apr 21 , Business Wire -- Nature’s Sunshine Products Inc. (NASDAQ:NATR), a leading manufacturer and marketer of encapsulated herbs and vitamins, today announced record operating results for the first quarter ended March 31, 1998.

First quarter sales revenue increased to $75.3 million, compared to $67.8 million for the same period in the prior year, an increase of 11.0 percent. Net income for the same period rose to $4.9 million, compared to $4.0 million, an increase of 21.4 percent.

"Our earnings momentum continues to be very strong, and we remain confident about the outlook," said Daniel P. Howells, president and chief executive officer. "Sales revenue increased $7.5 million, and while business overall remains highly favorable, our objective is to further improve our revenue growth, which we believe we can accomplish."

Sales revenue in the United States increased 11 percent, despite weakness in the Hispanic segment. New programs aimed at strengthening U.S. Hispanic sales are being introduced during the second quarter. "This is an important market for us and we expect that our increased efforts to strengthen this business segment will prove beneficial," said Howells.

As of March 31, 1998, Nature’s Sunshine had a total of 15,758 independent sales managers, up 13 percent from the same period last year. Worldwide distributors increased 25 percent over the prior year to approximately 652,000.

Nature’s Sunshine Products manufactures and markets through direct sales encapsulated and tabulated herbal products, high quality natural vitamins and other complementary products. The Company, in addition to marketing in the U.S., has operations in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Japan, Canada, South Korea, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Panama, Peru, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Honduras and Ecuador. The Company also has exclusive distribution agreements with selected companies in Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Norway.

Frontier: Acquires Aromatherapy Company

BOULDER, Colo., April 20, PRNewswire -- Frontier Natural Products Co-op, a leader in the natural products industry, announces the acquisition of Earth Harmony of Atlanta, GA. Earth Harmony produces a broad line of aromatherapy products for gift, boutique, department store, natural product, and spa markets, including stores such as Nordstroms. Frontier is currently a leader in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of pure essential aromatherapy products for the natural products market. Its Aura Cacia line holds the #1 overall market position and its Frontier Aromatherapy line is the leader in premium, organic aromatherapy products.

"We are in the process of acquiring other aromatherapy brands or companies in order to better service growing consumer demand, while offering only the highest quality aromatherapy products possible," states Rick Stewart, C.E.O. of Frontier. "Earth Harmony will allow us to expand our reach into new markets while offering cutting-edge new products to current customers. Earth Harmony’s strength is in new product development, which in combination with Frontier’s reputation for quality, will allow us to expand our presence and leadership position in aromatherapy."

Stewart continues, "To give consumers the value they deserve, we seek to leverage our company’s state-of-the-art testing and quality assurance lab, staffed by eight experts, including two Ph.D.s. We believe we have the only comprehensive in-house testing facility at any aromatherapy company in the United States."

Mark Werbalowsky, President of Earth Harmony added, "Frontier’s reputation for product purity along with its dedication to social causes and the environment made it a great fit with Earth Harmony."

Frontier Natural Products Co-op is based in Boulder, CO and Norway, IA. In addition to aromatherapy, other Frontier product categories include organic coffee, natural herbal remedies, and culinary herbs and spices. Frontier’s goal is to provide consumers with the highest quality and integrity in its natural and organic products, while supporting and promoting socially responsible business practices, organic agriculture, environmental activities, and positive, healthy lifestyles.

HealthRite: Sales Down, Loss for Year, Despite Profitable Herbal Line

OWINGS MILLS, April 16, Dow Jones -- HealthRite Inc. (HLRT) will report a loss of $3.8 million on $14.4 million in revenues for the year ending Dec. 31, 1997.

The year’s revenues fell 13%, or $2.1 million from 1996 sales.

In a press release Thursday, Healthrite said that although sales of the Montana Naturals operation rose, revenue overall fell due to the sale of the Vitamin Specialties unit in June 1997 and the drop in sales from its Jason Pharmaceuticals unit phen-fen diet drug combination was taken off the market by the Food and Drug Administration.

Jason’s lead product, Medifast, was being sold as a nutrition supplement in conjunction with phen-fen.

Healthrite said its 1997 results were also hurt by discouraging sales of the Nautilus line, obsolete inventory, Nautilus deferred development cost writeoffs, losses from the first six months of the Vitamin Specialties unit, lower margins from higher contracted manufacturing, account receivable writeoffs, increasing the valuation allowance of the deferred tax asset, and non-recurring legal costs of the proxy contest.

HealthRite said despite its loss for the year, its banks have provided adequate financing for its new business plan.

Healthrite plans to focus on Montana Naturals Pure Energy and Medifast branded products and to expand its profitable standardized herbal extracts custom-manufacturing business.

It also plans to restructure marketing and distribution. Healthrite said it will consolidate most of its production of branded items and install modern high speed manufacturing equipment in Montana to take advantage of lower cost.

Celestial Seasonings: Reports 25% Revenue Increase

BOULDER, Colo., April 16, PRNewswire -- Celestial Seasonings, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTEA) today reported revenue during its second quarter ended March 31, 1998 increased by 25.0 percent from the same quarter last year.

The company said net sales increased to $32.3 million in the quarter ended March 31, 1998 vs. $25.9 million for last year’s second fiscal quarter. Sales from the company’s traditional line of teas increased by 6.1 percent to $26.4 million. Sales of its new herbal supplements line were up 530.2 percent to $5.9 million. Gross profit improved by 24.5 percent to $21.1 million in the second quarter. Selling and marketing expenses increased to $13.7 million vs. $10.5 million during the quarter ended March 31, 1997, and as a percent of net sales to 42.5 percent from 40.8 percent. The company said this increase reflects efforts to support the introduction of its herbal supplements line.

"We are encouraged with the introduction of the Celestial Seasonings’ herbal supplements line during the quarter," said Steve Hughes, CEO and President. "We are making solid, steady progress toward our distribution objectives. At the same time, we remain committed to growing our tea franchise. Our green tea, functional tea and chai programs all have shown good progress in the marketplace."

11. Correction: Melatonin in Herbs
By Conrad Richter

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