NIH News Advisory
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

Monday, August 19, 2002

Press Contact:
NHLBI Communications Office
(301) 496-4236

NIH to Hold Workshop on Cardiovascular Effects of Several Widely Used Herbal Dietary Supplements

Alternative medicine researchers and practitioners from the United States, as well as Germany, Mexico and Russia, will meet later this week to exchange ideas, report on current research, and discuss ways to foster collaborative research on the cardiovascular effects of botanicals, namely garlic, ginkgo biloba, hawthorn, and phytoestrogens.

The workshop, "Mechanistic Studies of Cardiovascular Effects of Botanicals," will be held August 22 - 23 at the Four Points by Sheraton (8400 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland). The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) are jointly sponsoring the 1 day event. Pre-registration for this event is required as limited seating will be available.

The goal of the workshop is to assess the current state of research on the mechanisms of action responsible for the cardiovascular effects of several widely used herbal dietary supplements, and the evidence for their clinical efficacy. At the conclusion of the workshop, attendees will develop recommendations for future research.

Sessions on these topics will be moderated by workshop co-chairs Eric Block, Ph.D., of the State University of New York at Albany and Curt D. Furberg, M.D., Ph.D., of Wake Forest University School of Medicine. NHLBI Director Claude Lenfant, M.D., and workshop coordinator Michael C. Lin, Ph.D., of NHLBI's Division of Heart and Vascular Diseases, will provide the welcoming remarks. Paul Coates, Ph.D., director of ODS, and Linda Engel, acting director of the Division of Extramural Research and Training, NCCAM, will provide perspectives from the NIH. Shaw Chen, M.D., Ph.D., associate director for the Office of Drug Evaluation — Five, of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will also speak.

Following the opening remarks and perspectives, the workshop will be divided into three sessions. Sessions One and Two take place on Thursday and will cover garlic and ginkgo biloba. Session Three on Friday morning will focus on flavonoid-containing botanicals, including hawthorn and phytoestrogens. Scientific presentations will be followed by general discussions.

Media representatives who would like more information, copies of abstracts, or to register for the event, should call the NHLBI Communications Office at (301) 496-4236. The workshop agenda can be found online at:

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) plans, conducts, and supports research related to the causes, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of heart, blood vessel, lung, and blood diseases; and sleep disorders. NHLBI press releases, fact sheets, and other materials are available online at

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is dedicated to exploring complementary and alternative medical (CAM) practices in the context of rigorous science, training CAM researchers, and disseminating authoritative information to the public and professionals. For additional information, call NCCAM's Clearinghouse toll free at 1-888-644-6226, or visit the NCCAM Web site at

The Office of Dietary Supplements was established at NIH in November 1995 as a result of the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act passed by Congress in 1994. 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 and enhance quality of life and health for the U.S. population. The ODS expects to continue to fund investigator-initiated awards as a means to expand research opportunities in the area of dietary supplements. For additional information, visit the ODS website at