Where to Buy
Choosing where to buy your herbs and herbal
products can be a little difficult. I recommend buying herbal products that are
"Standardized". This is shown on the label.
More and more herbs are
being sold as standardized extracts. These products contain a specific
concentration of one or more "marker" compounds-- substances believed to be the
active ingredients that contribute to an herb's therapeutic effects, explains
herbal expert Adriane Fugh-Berman, M.D., of the National Women's Health
When it comes to bulk herbs, your choice is a bit more
difficult. Herbal products are made from plants that have medicinal properties.
Light, air and moisture all speed the deterioration of dried plants and rob
them of their usefulness. The most destructive process is oxidation -- that is,
reactions with oxygen that change the plants' chemistry.
1) Look for
well-tested products. The label should mention lab testing.
2) Look for
a well made brand. Herbal product manufacters are required to adhere to
standards established for food processing (so called-GMP's or Good
Manufacturing Practices). Those that are proud to adhere and do so voluntarily
often mention this on the label.
3) Buy single herb
products that clearly state how much of the herb you are buying. Complex
mixtures of numerous herbs often contain inadequate doses of each. As most
things, you generally get what you pay for; cheap herbs aren't necessarily good
4) Finally, beware of
outrageous claims. If an herb sounds to good to be true, then it probably
Rarely does an herb at the prescribed dose cause stomach upset or
headache. This may reflect the purity of the preparation or added ingredients
such as synthetic binders or fillers. For this reason, only high quality,
standardized extract formulas are recommended.