Herbs from China: Can They Be Trusted?

The high quality herb on the left is from our pharmacy. We found the same herb on the right, in a pharmacy in Chinatown.

The high quality herb on the left is from our pharmacy. We found the same herb (on the right) in a pharmacy in Chinatown. Differences in quality are sometimes easy to see, but aren’t always apparent to the naked eye.

It happens quite often that I see a patient who has concerns about herbs that come from China. We’ve all heard the stories of toxic products coming from China – not to mention the worries we have about pesticides in our products grown right here in California!

I wish I could simply say “Yes – natural and herbal products coming out of China are just fine.” But that’s not always the case…

In my practice, I’m dedicated to sourcing herbs the best herbs I can find. The companies that we buy from find not only the highest quality plants, but they also put the herbs through rigorous testing to make sure there are no pesticides and fungicides. The testing is done here in California, and we are provided with “Certificates of Analysis” showing that the herbs test clean.

This is a win-win situation for my patients. Not only can you feel comfortable knowing that the herbs are of the highest quality, but you’ll also see better results faster.

Imagine for a moment a fresh red, vine-ripened tomato you buy at the farmer’s market. Then imagine a light pinkish/whitish fuzzy textured tomato that you’ve been served over iceberg lettuce at a diner somewhere. Eating these two tomatoes would be a totally different experience. If the tomatoes were used for healing, naturally you’d be getting better much more quickly with the fresh, red tomato. Similarly, taking herbal medicine made from the best plants is far more effective than taking low quality herbs.

The downside, of course, is that top-quality herbal medicine can become expensive. But I’m convinced that patients pay less in the long run if they stick with the best rather than trying to get well with the cheapest herbs they can find.

My best recommendation is to talk to your herbalist and ask them –

  • Where are the herbs that you prescribe from?
  • Are the herbs tested for quality as well as contaminants (like pesticides)?
  • And where was the testing performed? Was it done here in the U.S. or were the herbs tested in China or somewhere else?

When it comes to health, make sure to stick with the best.

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