The US National Institutes of Health will fund new research centres investigating botanical supplements to the tune of $35M

The US National Institutes of Health (NIH) has awarded nearly $35 million (£22.7 million) to fund research into botanical dietary supplements and other natural products, which include various substances produced by plants, bacteria, fungi, and animals historically used in traditional medicine and other complementary health practices. The agency announced on 9 September that it will fund five research centres to examine the safety of such natural products, study how they work within the body, and develop cutting-edge research technologies to probe such substances.

Specifically, the NIH expects to provide competitive grant awards worth $2 million annually for five years to the three botanical dietary supplements research centres, and the agency anticipates awarding two natural products innovation centres a combined budget of $1.25 million per year for five years.

Many of the supplements that the centres plan to study with the NIH funding – including black cohosh, fenugreek, licorice, and valerian – are among the top 100 supplements consumed in the US, according to the NIH. The agency points to survey data indicating that nearly one in five adults in America use botanical supplements and other non-vitamin, non-mineral dietary supplements like omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics.