Friday, February 3, 2017

The scary reason why I quit buying herbal supplements.

A few years back I was diagnosed with a serious liver infection. It was winter and the herbs I wanted to treat it with were not readily available so I went to the pharmacy and bought herbal supplements. I did get some herbal teas, but mostly my regimen consisted of capsules of dandelion root and milk thistle along with a few others. Then I saw the news report. The New York State Attorney General’s Office used a lab to test many of the herbal supplements available in stores and found that many of them didn't contain as much of the herb as they said it did. Some had none. That's zero. Not one tiny bit of what we are paying for when we buy that bottle of ginko biloba or echinacea. Others were full of fillers like powdered rice, mustard and wheat. How does that make you feel...because I was irate!

Don't buy herbal supplements


It actually gets worse though because the report goes on to say that some of them contained no organic material at all and some even contained sand. SAND! Now you may be thinking you know what to buy and you wouldn't buy unknown brands so this wont be a problem and I would have agreed with you. Except that these were all store brands from Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC. These are brands most people think are safe. This literally makes me sick. Sadly, it would have kept me sick! (I did link the article up above so you can check that out if you want all the details. More info here also) The scary part is that because herbal supplements are not considered medicines they are not regulated by the FDA. They don't go through safety checks with any governing body, they are not held to any standards. As long as nobody gets hurt they just sort of fly under the radar. It's not like rice powder is going to hurt anybody so they obviously can get away with an awful lot. 

The question is, what can we do? My solution at that moment was to order dried herbs and use them instead. There's less of a chance of contamination with a reputable herb company. You'll be getting a pure herb with no questionable ingredients. You'll be able to see it's all plant material and no fillers the moment you get it. I've always liked and trusted the quality of herbs from the Bulk Herb Store so I ordered from them immediately. I also grow and dry herbs myself so I always have a fresh supply.

I like to prepare herbs as teas, but some aren't very tasty so I get empty gelatin capsules and fill them with herbs. I like to grind the herbs finely using my mortar and pestle first. It can be tricky to get the capsules filled, but you get the hang of it pretty quickly. I use about 1 1/2 tablespoons of dried herbs for a cup of tea. If I want to fill capsules I use a little less. I take 1 Tbs of dried herbs and grind it with my mortar & pestle then fill the capsules. This should fill 2 capsules which is 1 dose. The amount I want to use depends on the herb but that's a pretty good guideline...just remember to measure the herb before grinding!  I just sort of scoop the ground herb up with both sides of the capsule and put them together. I don't use them very often though since I like the teas so much. If you plan on making a lot of herb capsules you might want to get a capsule machine to make filling them much easier. I much prefer these to the store bought ones. Now I'm positive I'm getting exactly what I expect!

why I don't buy herbal supplements

The good news is, I kicked that liver infection in the butt and earned a clean bill of health! As far as the testing report, one of the brands whose supplements were questioned (GNC) requested a different type of testing because the DNA testing the state attorney generals office used wasn't the kind they prefer. That was 2 years ago and there have been no updates that I could find so the whole thing is sorta up in the air as to whether the first test stands or not. I'm kind of upset at the sheer number of people who may have needed help and turned to herbal supplements didn't have a chance of working. Clearly some kind of standards need to be enforced for supplements but it doesn't look like it will happen anytime soon. I guess I'll just keep drinking my herbal teas and keeping myself healthy that way!

~L

(this post contains affiliate links. If you chose to purchase something from these links, I will get a small amount from the company to thank me for sending you their way and help support this blog. It will not affect your purchase price)                                                          

10 comments:

  1. Great post! I prefer to use dried herbs as well! -Marci @ Stone Cottage Adventures

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  2. Great post and grateful to read it! My husband and I both use supplements. Some of them come from my allergist's office, but others do not. We are both desiring to stay healthy as long as possible and have been blessed so far (in our early 70's). Your post nudges me to take a look at those capsules I take that are NOT from my allergist's office. Happy to be your close neighbor today on the Clever Chicks Blog

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    1. I'd definitely take a closer look! I like filling my own capsules, then I don't have to wonder what's in them. That's awesome that your allergist has supplements available!

      ~L

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  3. Thanks for coming to the Blogger's Pit Stop last week with your post.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

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  4. That's just wrong Lisa and shocking too.I'm so glad you shared this, I'll be double checking all our supplements just in case. Fortunately we stay in South Africa so the weather is perfect for growing our own herbs 90% of the time .
    P.S. I'm really happy you kicked that liver problem's butt

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    1. Oh, I am so jealous! I would love to grow herbs year round!

      Thanks, I was pretty excited when I got my blood test back and my levels were normal. Proof positive that herbs really do work!

      ~L

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  5. Oh my goodness! That's just horrible! Definitely going to double check my sources if I have to start taking herbal supplements. Thanks for sharing at the #happynowlinkup!

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  6. Grrr, this kind of greed leaves me speechless. I can't swallow pills so I'm not big into supplements, but my husband is an avid herbal supplement user. Love your alternative with filling your own capsules!

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    1. I was so mad when I found out! I kept thinking 'how many people now think that herbs don't work, when they weren't even getting any of the herb?' The capsules work great, they're a little more labor intensive but so worth it!

      ~L

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  7. Yes, it's scary that supplements aren't regulated nor are their health benefits (or dangers) fully studied. Thanks for sharing on the #WasteLessWednesday Blog Hop!

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