In his Healing Lyme book and Q & A column, herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner recommends 1st Chinese Herbs as a bulk herb supplier for many of his lyme herbs. Those focused on health and wellness have for years been concerned about buying herbs from China due to reports of high levels of heavy metal and pesticide contamination. We put the question to 1st Chinese Herbs to find out directly from them what they can guarantee as far as purity and sourcing of their lyme herbs. Here is what 1st Chinese Herbs had to share about their manufacturing process and the quality of their products:
THE MAKING OF CONCENTRATED POWDERS ~ 5:1 RATIO
Raw material. Only high quality clean herbs are used in making concentrated powders. The identity of the plant is determined as well as the active substances in the herb. Each herb must be identified, the active substance review, checked for heavy metals, pesticides, micro-bacteria, and other impurities. If the standards are not met, the herbs are refused.
The dried herbs are cleaned thoroughly and usually cut into pieces. Some raw herbs need to be processed. The processing may consist of cooking (frying) in vinegar, wine, or honey.
The Extraction Process
Crucial steps are taken to insure the indispensable substances are not destroyed. This is achieved by high pressure and using the lowest temperature possible.
The raw material is separated from the remaining liquid.
Five parts raw material makes one part extract. This means a concentration of 5:1, which is 5 times stronger than the original decoction of 1:1. The concentration varies from herb to herb, depending on the viscosity of the decoction.
Transforming to Powder (Granules)
This procedure, identified as spray drying, consist of spraying the concentrated liquid on small particles of starch, dries and becomes a powder. A next step can be the formation of granulates. As starch, mostly corn is used, but sometimes the dried and finely ground raw material is reintroduced as starch. This starch is also known as dextrin.
The final product is controlled again, by checking for impurities and microbiological cleanliness. Certificates of analyses and tests results are available on demand.
Side Note: Herbal Extracts are 5:1 full spectrum extracts produced at a state-of-the-art facility, yielding a standardized granule size with aromas and colors consistent with the original herbs, while maintaining all of its constituents. The unique technology utilized creates a more water-soluble extract than those utilizing older processes, resulting in smoother dissolution.
Prior to processing, raw herbs are randomly sampled and inspected to ensure that they meet strict quality control criteria before being blended into formulas. Each batch is tested for pesticides in the U.S. and randomly to verify the results for heavy metals and microbacteria. As well as in accordance with high standards for quality and safety, the teapills are factory and laboratory tested for contaminants.
We follow all Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP): No pharmaceuticals. No heavy metals. All teapills are cooked and extracted as a tea. Sulfur free herbs are used. No preservatives, no sugars. No colors. The formula of the teapills form strictly adheres to traditional herbal formula recipes and does not add any hidden pharmaceutical substances, preservatives or colors to the products. Teapills are free from impurities.
“Other ingredients” or excipients used in making teapills may include:
Talcum (hua shi): Used in the coating to add shine and smoothness.
Activated carbon: Used in the coating for evenness of color and smoothness.
Botanical wax: Used in the coating to provide for easier swallowing and help naturally preserve freshness.
Maltose: Occasionally used when needed as a natural binder.
NUHERBS® LAB TESTED HERBS
nuherbs® gathers the best herbs from their indigenous regions to ensure that the proper climate, soil and water crucial to the content of active ingredients are present, as most herbs indigenous to one region cannot be properly grown in another. nuherbs® herbs are wild crafted or sourced from 52 GAP (Good Agricultural Practice) Farms when possible. The source of the herbs will be indicated on the COA (certificate of analysis).
In addition to geo-authenticity, we harvest at the proper time of the year to maximize the active ingredients’ potency.
A Master Herbalist macroscopically examines the herbs to ensure they are the proper species and grade of herb that we desire, and that the herbs are from the highest quality of its species. Extra steps such as TLC tests and microscopic tests are also taken.
All herbs are furthered processed according to traditional techniques at PIC/S (Pharmaceutical Inspection Cooperation / Scheme) GMP Certified Plant to ensure the highest effectiveness and decrease the potential of side effects. The GMP quality assurance system protects the whole manufacturing procedure, and documentation ensures that every step of manufacturing is traceable. Products are chosen randomly from each lot for testing.
Herbs are carefully hand-sorted before packing to check for impurities. In addition, nuherbs® have developed their own protocols and cutting styles, enabling us to specially slice some of the herbs to release their most active ingredient. Moisture is well-controlled to prolong shelf life without the use of any preservatives like sulfur and nitrogen dioxide.
Each batch of herbs is dual-lab tested by nuherbs® in-house lab and an independent third party lab. nuherbs® in-house lab is equipped with instruments such as a high performance liquid chromatograph, moisture determination meter, Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, gas chromatograph, etc.
In addition, the following additional tests are performed:
Microbacteria, pesticides – over 200 pesticides tested for (Uab 2000 screen), heavy metals – lead, mercury and arsenic.
SULPHUR FREE HERBS
Sulfites, and more recently chlorine and aluminum phosphate, have been used to keep herbs from spoiling during shipping, to increase shelf life, to inhibit microorganisms during processing and to brighten the color of herbs. We became disenchanted with herbs tasting sour from the added sulfites and concerned over the growing use of preservatives and their potentially harmful side effects. Our herbs are free of chlorine, aluminum phosphate and sulphur.
Processing & Packaging
We use strict traditional guidelines for the correct processing of herbs (frying, baking, steaming, etc.) to ensure effectiveness and decrease side effects. We do not use irradiation or ethylene oxide sterilization at any stage of processing of our herbs. Some herbs are sterilized with heat or special high-pressure alcohol steam. Following the sterilization process, the herbs are oven dried. This sterilizes the herbs a second time and ensures our herbs are well dried. Drier herbs help prolong shelf life without preservatives and are lighter, giving you more per pound. In contrast, sulfur keeps herbs moist without rotting so regular commercially available herbs can contain extra moisture and sulfur yielding up to 15% less herb per pound. To help prevent spoilage bags we vacuum pack the herbs after drying, then inject the outer package with harmless nitrogen to further inhibit the growth of aerobic molecules and molds.
Cleanliness and Hygiene
You will find that our Plum Flower® Brand bulk herbs are exceptionally clean. Our bulk herbs are subject to a very careful grading and sorting system. We hand-sort most of our herbs to make sure there is no extraneous matter, soil, powder, pebbles or dust in the herbs you buy. Herbs are carefully monitored for impurities. Restrictions on heavy metal and microbial contaminants are stringent, surpassing many international requirements. Following extensive in–house testing at the manufacturing site, heavy metal testing is conducted again at third party labs to confirm results and to ensure that our rigorous standards of purity and safety are met. More sophisticated analyses, such as aristolochic acid testing and chloramphenicol testing as well as testing for DDT and benzene hexachloride, two non–permitted pesticides*, are also conducted. All labs used by our manufacturers have been accredited by the China National Accreditation Service for Conformity Assessment and are internationally recognized. Herbs are then packaged in vacuum packed double bags, further protecting them from damage, dust and filth during the shipping process.
*”Permitted pesticides” refers to pesticide drift due to wind or rainwater runoff from other areas or farms.
Shelf Life and Freshness
Plum Flower® Brand herbs have a shelf life of 24-36 months. In contrast, commercial sulfured herbs look unchanged 5 to 6 years or longer after purchase, making it difficult to tell how fresh they truly are. The sulfur also acts as bleach, covering bruises and other signs of decay. Without preservatives our Plum Flower® Brand -sulphur free herbs reveal their freshness and quality. From the fields to your place of business, we make every effort to provide the cleanest, safest, freshest and highest quality Chinese herbs available today.
As an affiliate partner of 1st Chinese Herbs, Planet Thrive is able to offer you 10% off all lyme herbs purchased through our link. Just use coupon code “LYME” at checkout to receive your discount. They also offer free shipping on orders over $40.
1st Chinese Herbs ~ Featured Lyme Herbs
certified organic and wildcrafted powders, tinctures, and capsules
see website information on individual products for organic certification status
Japanese Knotweed/Resveratrol/Hu Zhang (Polygonum cuspidatum rhizoma)
Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)
Eleutherococcus/Siberian Ginseng Root/Ci Wu Jia (Eleutherococcus senticosus cortex radix)
Astragalus Root/Huang Qi (Astragalus membranaceus)
ADDITIONAL SUPPORTIVE HERBS
Andrographis/Chuan Xin Lian (Andrographis paniculata herba)
Artemesia/Wormwood/Qing Hao (Artemisia apiacea herba)
Ashwaganda Root (Withania somnifera)
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)
Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens)
Houttuynia/Yu Xing Cao (Houttuynia cordata herba cum radix)
Huperzine A (Huperzia serrata)
Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum)
Red Root (Ceanothus americanus)
Sarsaparilla/Smilax/Tu Fu Ling (Smilax glabra rhizoma)
Stephania Root/Fang Ji or Han Fang Ji (Radix Stephaniae tetrandrae)
Teasel Root/Xu Duan (Dipsacus asper root)
1st Chinese Herbs also sells empty capsules (both gelatin and vegetable based), capsule machines, reusable muslin teabags, and other items for using the bulk herbs.