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IceAlisa
05-08-2012, 07:02 PM
Even if you grow your own herbs, it's hit and miss as to how many of the active chemicals each plant produces. And while the stuff from China is more likely to contain CITES violations and actively harmful padding ingredients, the 'herbal supplements' made and sold in the US are equally unregulated and just as likely to contain wildly varying amounts of the 'active' ingredients, lots of inert fillers, and absolutely no third-party scientific validation of their claims.
Herbs have a relatively large therapeutic window, although it varies from herb to herb and only a trained practitioner knows what is safe.

The herbs and herbal preparations from certain companies here in CA have a transparent process. Not so much in China.
As to validation, if anyone is interested I can cite studies from respected research institutions showing efficacy of certain herbs for certain conditions. I wouldn't make sweeping statements.

agalisgv
05-08-2012, 07:51 PM
What herbal companies in CA do you consider reputable, IA?


ETA: Well, really that's a question for anyone--what places have people found to be reliable? I heard of one that was touted as good, but recently saw they were under investigation from the FDA for mislabeling products.

barbk
05-08-2012, 08:06 PM
I know what else I do not trust -- the stuff sold as nutritional stuff for athletes, especially the little known brands, and any of the weight loss supplements. Way too often there are repots that these things contain unlabeled drugs or stimulants. No thank you.

IceAlisa
05-08-2012, 10:03 PM
Implying that because some Chinese herbs suppliers are in hot water, they all or most are untrustworthy sounds like the worst kind of stereotyping.
Properly operating companies would not sell herbs to a layperson.

Anita18
05-08-2012, 10:17 PM
True, and same goes for vitamins. Interesting article (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/fitness/exercise/fitness-research/3-reasons-to-reconsider-vitamin-pills/article2416236/) on the validity of vitamin supplements - this quote really stood out for me:


It’s not the micronutrients that are the problem; it’s the form they come in, says Jeff Coombes, an antioxidant researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia.

“Food derived from an animal or plant origin is constructed over millions of years to be in quantities where the nutrients work synergistically together,” he says. “So thinking you can take the nutrients out of that package and get similar benefits is a big stretch.”

As Michael Pollan says, if you want to get the nutritional benefits of beta carotene, instead of looking for supplements and products that are fortified with it, just eat a carrot.
I'm definitely not a pill-popper, and what happened to a friend of mine is a big reason why - my friend is vegan, and she needs to take vitamins because a vegan diet often does not impart all the nutrients you need to thrive.

For about three months, she threw up every day, didn't know why she was so sick. Turns out her normal daily vitamin had changed its filler formula and she was allergic to something in it. :yikes:

Thankfully, she's vegan for animal rights issues, not health issues. Cause it would be rather stupid to be vegan for health issues but have to take a vitamin with who-knows-what in it in order to be healthy. :P

Susan1
05-08-2012, 10:43 PM
Please don't tell me anything about grape seed extract, Health Foods Unlimited brand!!!! It seems to really be helping!

barbk
05-09-2012, 12:02 AM
Implying that because some Chinese herbs suppliers are in hot water, they all or most are untrustworthy sounds like the worst kind of stereotyping.


Prudence, I think. In the same way that I wouldn't -- even before the "pink slime" thing -- buy ground beef from supermarkets other than Costco (who tests their ground beef proactively) or Whole Foods (which grinds the beef in small batches multiple times a day in our store.) And I only buy honey from small, local producers, since many of the major brands of honey apparently include many substances that are not honey, and which have not been accurately sourced according to scientists who have examined the pollen.

China still seems to be a place where anything goes until it doesn't, and I don't see any reason to risk my health with Chinese foods/supplements. Nothing against the Chinese as people -- they are far more harmed by adulterants and impurities than I would be. How many kids died or were permanently injured in the milk adulteration scandal?

Allskate
05-09-2012, 12:10 AM
True, and same goes for vitamins. Interesting article (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health/fitness/exercise/fitness-research/3-reasons-to-reconsider-vitamin-pills/article2416236/) on the validity of vitamin supplements - this quote really stood out for me:

As Michael Pollan says, if you want to get the nutritional benefits of beta carotene, instead of looking for supplements and products that are fortified with it, just eat a carrot.

I don't think you can generalize from that one article about all vitamins and all health conditions. Sometimes supplements are both necessary and effective.

Not everyone can get all their nutrients through diet. It's not just vegans and vegetarians who need to supplement vitamins like B12. A lot of people, especially people who are older or have a variety of digestion problem like celiac or Chron's, have trouble absorbing some vitamins and would have to eat massive amounts of food to get enough.

I recently found out that I am severely deficient in vitamin D. (I thought I was doing the healthy thing by avoiding the sun and using sunscreen.) I am fair-skinned with a family history of skin cancer, so I am not willing to get all my vitamin D from the sun. I would have to drink a heck of a lot of milk to get enough vitamin D. There is very clear medical evidence showing that supplements of vitamin D work. So, right now, I'm on prescription vitamin D capsules, which are presumably regulated, but I fully intend to take over the counter vitamin D once the prescription pills get me to a healthy level. The deficiency has caused me a lot of health problems. (I highly recommend that anyone who avoids the sun consider whether they have adequate D levels because a deficiency can cause a lot of problems and doctors aren't always good at catching it.) But, it's true that I already have wondered what a reputable and reliable source would be for those vitamins. I wish they were regulated.

agalisgv
05-09-2012, 12:14 AM
Has anyone found a source to be reputable and reliable?

centerstage01
05-09-2012, 12:39 AM
I recently found out that I am severely deficient in vitamin D. (I thought I was doing the healthy thing by avoiding the sun and using sunscreen.) I am fair-skinned with a family history of skin cancer, so I am not willing to get all my vitamin D from the sun. I would have to drink a heck of a lot of milk to get enough vitamin D. There is very clear medical evidence showing that supplements of vitamin D work. So, right now, I'm on prescription vitamin D capsules, which are presumably regulated, but I fully intend to take over the counter vitamin D once the prescription pills get me to a healthy level. The deficiency has caused me a lot of health problems. (I highly recommend that anyone who avoids the sun consider whether they have adequate D levels because a deficiency can cause a lot of problems and doctors aren't always good at catching it.) But, it's true that I already have wondered what a reputable and reliable source would be for those vitamins. I wish they were regulated.

I have the same issues. I'm very fair skinned and avoid the sun as much as possible because I fear skin cancer. Thus, a Vitamin D problem. (People in my family think I'm strange, I think I'm being pro-active. Plus, I don't look like a leather handbag unlike some relatives.) I was on prescription Vitamin D for a while, but my doctor said it's back up to reasonable levels that I can maintain with an OTC vitamin.

IceAlisa
05-09-2012, 12:59 AM
Prudence, I think. In the same way that I wouldn't -- even before the "pink slime" thing -- buy ground beef from supermarkets other than Costco (who tests their ground beef proactively) or Whole Foods (which grinds the beef in small batches multiple times a day in our store.) And I only buy honey from small, local producers, since many of the major brands of honey apparently include many substances that are not honey, and which have not been accurately sourced according to scientists who have examined the pollen.

China still seems to be a place where anything goes until it doesn't, and I don't see any reason to risk my health with Chinese foods/supplements. Nothing against the Chinese as people -- they are far more harmed by adulterants and impurities than I would be. How many kids died or were permanently injured in the mild adulteration scandal?

Prudence above everything, I couldn't agree more. Also, if I were in China and were offered acupuncture, I would politely decline. Their needles are not single use and I know people who had come back with some nasty infections. And then there are movies like 9,000 needles (http://9000needles.com/9,000_Needles/Watch_Trailer.html) that tell a different story.

In California it is illegal to use non-disposable needles.

Has anyone found a source to be reputable and reliable? A reputable and reliable source would not sell herbs to general public, as mentioned.

Allskate
05-09-2012, 01:05 AM
A reputable and reliable source would not sell herbs to general public, as mentioned.

I think agalisgv said that in reference to my statement that I was looking for a reputable and reliable source of vitamin D, not herbs.

centerstage, have you found a good OTC source for vitamin D?

IceAlisa
05-09-2012, 01:08 AM
Wouldn't a drug store be a reputable source of vitamins? CVS? Walgreens? People should be careful with fat soluble vitamins--it's possible to overdose.

centerstage01
05-09-2012, 01:14 AM
I'm just using an OTC Vitamin D that I was recommended at Walgreens. Nothing fancy about it. Nature's Source I think it's called. I'm not home at the moment so I can't check, but if it's something different I'll change that.

Allskate
05-09-2012, 02:53 AM
Wouldn't a drug store be a reputable source of vitamins? CVS? Walgreens? People should be careful with fat soluble vitamins--it's possible to overdose.

Better than random Chinese herbs, but vitamins from a drug store are not necessarily reliable. Vitamins are not regulated by the FDA and studies have shown that many of the common OTC vitamins don't necessarily contain what they say they contain. Also, some are junkier than others because the vitamins are not in a particularly useful form for our bodies. I'd like to know which is a more reputable vitamin brand because I want to get what I think I'm getting (and not get what I think I'm not getting, like gluten). A few years ago, a friend of mine who is allergic to dairy had a terrible response to something that didn't list dairy as an ingredient.

I have a very low level of vitamin d and am following doctor's instructions, so I'm not likely to overdose or get a toxic level of vitamin d. But, it would be nice, when I start taking OTC vitamin D, to be sure that the bottle is correctly stating what the dosage is.