I take the quality and safety of all the herbs used at Oakland Hills Acupuncture seriously. All herbs have been authenticated for correct species and undergone testing for pesticides. My family and I, from the youngest to the most mature family members, personally use the same herbs that I provide to patients. I understand that herbs in general and Chinese herbs are new to many people, therefore I wanted to take some time to address some possible concerns here.
Before opening my own practice, I decided to work at the local Chinese herb importer Spring Wind Herbs, located in San Leandro, CA. Spring Wind Herbs is a Chinese Medicine Practitioner run business with the sole purpose of providing high quality and contaminant free Chinese Herbs. While there are many high quality herb companies in the area, I only applied to Spring Wind Herbs as I was drawn to their commitment to thorough testing. Fortunately for me I was able to work at Spring Wind Herbs and gain some valuable experience understanding the herb testing process and why contaminant testing is really necessary in all agricultural fields today, regardless of country of origin. I continue to apply this knowledge to the herbs which I choose to include in my practice. The herbs and herbal ointments I use in my practice all come from well known and trusted companies run by knowledgeable individuals, the majority of whom I’ve had the pleasure to be a student of, all of whom value herb quality.
I’ve attached the following contaminant test results for the herb Shan Yao (Mountain Yam), a superb digestive tonic. This batch of Shan Yao passed testing for over 278 pesticides coming back as none detected for all of them. To help put the issue of herb safety into context, if we were to test most non-organic produce at our local supermarkets and even restaurants many would not pass this same level of testing. Unfortunately, some foods labeled as “Organic” might not pass this level. Regarding Chinese Herbs and organic certification,while there are herbs available with organic certification there are many farmers who are unable to afford the cost of certification despite producing herbs of that same quality level. Therefore extensive pesticide testing allows us to distinguish clean herbs from those not suitable for use in healthcare.
While I cannot speak for all of the herbs on the Chinese Herb marketplace, I know for a fact that there are not only large amounts of clean and safe herbs available but that there are many individuals, institutions and even a whole profession of herbal pharmacists dedicated to ensuring the ongoing availability of safe medicinal herbs. That said I would not recommend buying herbs or herb products at random if you are unable to distinguish quality of the products. I can only vouch for the herbs used at Oakland Hills Acupuncture. (As time permits I will add a blog and discuss this topic in more detail.)