Our herbs are from Spring Wind Herbs. We believe Spring Wind offers the highest quality bulk herbs in the United States. Here is their information on product quality.
At Spring Wind we seek out the best quality of herbs available at any given time and spend considerable resources assuring that each herb is what we say it is.
As Spring Wind expands its lines of Organic and Premium Grade herbs we gain more direct connections with the growers of our herbs. This helps us to increase the transparency of our sourcing and aids in our goal of providing carefully grown, correctly identified Chinese herbs. The highlights of our herb program can be summarized as follows:
Correct species – We put great effort into correctly identifying the species of the items we sell. This is a science which we are still perfecting even though we have been at it for almost 20 years. Macroscopic and microscopic examinations are employed to compliment other organoleptic (sense-derived) data such as smell and taste in determining species identification. We use theChinese Pharmacopeia for verification where the given herb is listed in that text. For the few herbs that require chemical analysis to reliably determine correct identification we rely on laboratory testing.
Quality evaluations – We purchase herbs in small batches. This insures that Spring Wind herbs are fresh. We obtain samples of each lot before purchase to ensure the quality meets our strict standards. Herbs must be clean, fresh and of good color and sapor to meet our rigorous inspection. We use herb-specific criteria when evaluating quality. For example, Niu Bang Zi (Arctium seed) is best when the seed is plump and carries no seed husk, high quality fresh Bai Zi Ren (Biotae seed) is oily and is a light-yellow color and Yan Hu Suo (Corydalis) is best if it is large, firm and its cross-section is golden-yellow. We use vacuum packing to insure freshness for herbs for which this is required.
Rigorous testing – Spring Wind has the most rigorous pesticide testing program in the industry†. We accept only a ND (none detected) result on our pesticide tests. Our sulfur-free herbs are tested either by in-house vapor testing (limit of 1.0 ppm) or by lab titration for sulfites (ND only).
Originally from: http://springwind.com/products-quality
†. Spring Wind has two standard testing protocols. The first tests for the following classes of pesticides: organophosphates, chlorinated hydrocarbons, methyl carbamates, organonitrogens and pyrethroids (over 250 pesticides total). The second tests for organophosphates, organochlorines, pyrethroids and the pesticide potentiator, Piperonyl butoxide (over 135 pesticides total).
The herbal medicinals in our clinic are carefully selected from sources that only deal with trusted farmers and herbal processors. For example, our primary source for raw herbs has the most rigorous pesticide testing program in the industry. A good percentage of our herbs are certified organic and pesticide free.
The factories where the products are processed use chemical analysis, including thin layer chromatography (TLC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) to confirm proper identification, ensure potency, and test for active constituents when necessary. Every batch of our herbs are tested by third-party laboratories for heavy metals, microbial contaminants, moisture content, and harmful pesticides such as DDT and benzene hexachloride.
For more information about quality assurance from our distributors click here, Mayway and Springwind.
Commentary: With all the news about contaminants in Chinese products it is a valid concern to wonder about the source, as well as the processing methods, of your Chinese herbs. Quality control has been a major concern for us since our beginning. We go out of our way to assure that our patients get the highest quality possible. We of course prefer sources that are certified organic and look forward to the day where all herbs and food are pesticide free.
Unfortunately, there are companies, health food stores, and even practitioners that sell sub optimal products. Although companies seem to all have the “highest quality herbs”, from our experience this is just not possible. In fact, most of the highest grade herbs from China go to Korea and Japan. Americans do not get the highest quality because companies purposely purchase inferior (cheaper in cost) products and consumers pay little attention to where their herbs actually come from, putting way too much faith into companies’ marketing maneuvers.
Consequently, many products contain pesticide-ridden, low-quality or even substitute herbs. Herbs that are made into pills, tinctures, or even ground up, are harder to evaluate because visual inspection is impossible. This is one of many reasons we prefer to use bulk herbs in our clinic. Asking questions to help determine quality standards is always encouraged. All companies should be able to show you in-house testing of their products, but more importantly, they should be able to show you unbiased third party testing.
Open Gate Acupuncture, located in Boulder Colorado, serves patients throughout the Boulder county region including Denver, Longmont, Gunbarrel, Lafayette, & Louisville. Jason Blalack has been treating patients in Boulder for over 14 years after graduating from Pacific College of Oriental Medicine. Jason is an international lecturer on Chinese medicine and has an extensive collection of Chinese medicine articles published in professional journals worldwide. Jason specializes in autoimmune, digestive disorders, fertility, and emotional disorders at the Open Gate Acupuncture Clinic and also via long distance & online medical consultations.