About Bent Creek Institute

Bent Creek Institute : Who We Are & Where We Work

Bent Creek Institute, Inc. (BCI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit business incubator conserving and developing WNC's unique plant biodiversity assets by anchoring our nation's emerging integrative wellness economy through science in botanical quality and safety. BCI is a collarborator of The North Carolina Arboretum (TNCA), an affiliate of The University of North Carolina. BCI will collaborate with Asheville’s extraordinary integrative healthcare community to make our region synonymous with safe, effective, and affordable botanical therapies as a primary wellness support system backed by ethical life sciences, sustainable cultivation practices, and thousands of years of traditional use worldwide.

Our Mission & Focus: Bio-Botanical Jobs Growth in WNC, Service to the Nation

Our Mission: Bent Creek Institute, Inc., a non-profit research and economic development organization, accelerates research, development, and production of safe plant derived wellness products in western North Carolina.

The NC Arboretum's Germplasm Repository (TNCAGR)  is North America’s only gene bank dedicated to archiving, conserving, and storing medicinal plants and related endophyte germplasm for medical and horticultural research. Anchored by TNCAGR’s botanical research and conservation activities, BCI fosters sustainable jobs growth based on validated botanical medicines and integrative healthcare solutions that serve the wellness needs of our region, our state, and our nation.

BCI will manage the growth and development of the US Botanical Safety Laboratory (USBSL), a non-profit consortium of botanical research laboratory partners based at campuses and facilities under the UNC, NC State, and NC Community College systems primarily in Western North Carolina. USBSL seeks to provide federal agencies, academic institutions, foreign regulatory entities, and private companies with non-biased, state-of-the-art botanical safety and quality testing services utilizing the depth of botanical competency and the prodigious range of analytical instrumentation already deployed at academic botanical research centers in North Carolina. Consumers, practitioners, natural products industry members, and regulatory agencies will benefit from tapping into the significant resource base offered through USBSL.


 A Center for Innovation Through Collaboration in Botanical Sciences

BCI forms collaborative partnerships in botanical research and quality assurance, integrative medical research, technical education, biodiversity conservation, technology transfer, and public outreach that together serve the national need for affordable wellness solutions. BCI will bring international attention to the Western North Carolina region’s unique biodiversity and botanical quality assets, along with its exceptional reputation for health, wellness, and cultural distinctiveness. BCI’s intent is to harness government and private industry needs for unbiased, scientifically validated botanical research and safety testing via services contracts that will develop, over time, an economic cluster for Western North Carolina yielding higher paying jobs in farming, horticultural sciences, manufacturing, distribution, and applied botanical sciences, as well as expanding our already robust integrative healthcare economy.  

Grounded by the efforts of Dr. Joe-Ann McCoy, Director of The NC Arboretum Germplasm Repository, the research arm of  The North Carolina Arboretum, BCI’s unique approach to botanical research, testing services, and technology transfer will:

  • Develop new tools and therapeutic protocols to help understand the health benefits and drug interaction risks of botanical medicines;
  • Validate botanically-based approaches to complementary and alternative medicine, including traditional approaches under the world’s revered medical systems (Ayurveda, TCM, etc.), through clinical trial design and development assistance;
  • Serve the nation as an international repository and clearinghouse for the study, protection, and careful commercial use of medicinal plants and endophytes;
  • Create unique research and work-study opportunities for graduate students as well as undergraduate and K-12 students;
  • Discover knowledge and create economic incentives to drive informed environmental public policy that will protect Western North Carolina's unique biodiversity assets.

The careful collaborative work of BCI and its partners, situated within Western North Carolina's biodiversity, history, and culture of reverence towards naturally co-evolved medicinal plant therapies will position Western North Carolina as the logical place for clients at federal regulatory agencies and international certifying bodies to seek out robust scientific solutions serving the ever-changing needs of human wellness.

Research and botanical quality testing that demonstrate the superiority of Western North Carolina natural medicines will be used to brand regional growers’ products, support higher raw and finished product price points, establish ancillary processing, manufacturing, marketing and distribution businesses and establish Western North Carolina as an international center for natural medicine innovation.