The Quality of Herbs
Can Millions of Americans Be Wrong?
It is estimated that 38% of Americans today use herbs for their health care. The World Health Organization of the U.N. estimates that 80% of the world population uses herbs as part of their primary health care. Plant based health care has a long history and dates back over 3000 years with the Chinese. It was also used by Africans, Native Americans, and Indians using Ayurveda. Today’s modern research has shown that herbs used properly can help up-regulate the immune system, the body’s antioxidant systems, cell protection, sugar and insulin balance, blood circulation, balancing hormone systems, liver and kidney purification, even prolong life. But, a new report seems to indicate that the “buyer must be aware.”
Are Herbs Always What They Claim To Be?
A newly published Canadian study (Nov 13) from BMC Medicine has found that herbs sold to the public are often not what they claim to be. Using a genetic DNA fingerprinting system researchers tested 44 bottles of herbs marketed by 12 companies. Their findings were shocking. Many of the bottles of Echinacea contained another plant instead and noEchinacea. Two of the bottles of St. John’s wort were found to contain none of the herb. Gingko biloba supplements, promoted as memory enhancers, were mixed with fillers and black walnut, a potentially deadly hazard for people with nut allergies. Of 44 herbal supplements tested, one-third showed outright substitution, meaning there was not trace of the plant advertised on the bottle… only another plant in its place. Many were adulterated with ingredients not listed on the label, like rice, soybean and wheat, which are used as fillers.
MediHerb, a producer of the high quality herbs is often tasked with testing the constituents of commercial herb products for the Australian government. In 2002 a patient died from a Skullcap herbal product. MediHerb analyzed the other company’s product for the government and found that the product contained absolutely no Skullcap but had been substituted with Germander, an herb that is toxic to the human liver.
There is no reason to avoid using herbs for health reasons, but you should check with your chiropractor first to determine how to obtain high quality herbal products.