Like many industries today, the medicinal herb business is a global industry. Herbal ingredients found in U.S. products are grown and processed in many different countries. And because each country has its own regulatory system for herbals, these ingredients are made with differing levels of quality control and are backed by varying levels of scientific evidence. In many countries, especially in the developing world, herbals are regulated much like foods and are only required to be clean and suitable for human consumption. In other countries, herbal ingredients are held to higher standards. They are regulated much like medicines and must be proven safe and clinically effective. In the U.S., manufacturers can purchase ingredients from any of these countries and each company decides where to buy its herbals based on their pricing model and internal standards of quality. We often choose European standardized herbal extracts because they are generally the highest quality ingredients available in the global marketplace. For decades, European governments have regulated herbal extracts as over-the-counter medicines. And they require manufacturers to perform safety studies, clinical studies, and show strong quality control before an herbal product is allowed to go to market, just as they would with any other medicine. This regulatory environment ensures that a European herbal extract is safe for human consumption and that it will be truly effective for its intended medical purpose.
Quality is Controlled from Farm to Pharmacy
For standardized European herbal extracts, quality control begins with the plant in the field. Manufacturers carefully control the process because many factors can affect the plant’s natural compounds and its medicinal effectiveness. These include the location, farming methods, seed stock, the timing of the harvest, and the handling of harvested plant during processing.
Once the plant enters the extraction facility, it undergoes a carefully controlled process. The company follows the same process each time and conducts in-process testing to chemically evaluate the plant. They compare data from each batch to previous batches to guarantee that the herbal adheres to established quality standards and is safe and effective.
European Herbal Products Are Tested
Standardized herbal extracts must adhere to standards laid out in several European official regulatory publications. Each product must contain the specific compounds known to be important contributors to the effectiveness of the product. And the final chemical analysis must include testing for many impurities, such as heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides to make sure they are kept within safe limits.
Most Extracts Have a Full Spectrum of Compounds
Preserving the entire range of a plant’s natural compounds is taken seriously in Europe because researchers know that undiscovered compounds may have important health benefits. Companies do this by conducting chemical tests throughout the process and use chemical fingerprints and “marker” compounds to verify the herb’s chemical consistency from batch-to-batch. These marker compounds are used as rough guides to indicate whether a product has been extracted properly. The herbal extracts not only contain the marker compounds but also a full spectrum of plant’s natural compounds.
We Are Proud to Offer the World’s Best Herbal Extracts
We hope you see why we choose European herbal extracts whenever possible. Because of their classification as medicines, European extracts simply have a higher level of quality than extracts made as foods in other countries. European herbal products must be proven safe and effective before their market introduction. And companies have control from the farm-to-the-pharmacy to guarantee a highly consistent herbal extract. Simply put, standardized European herbal extracts are the best and most advanced herbal ingredients in the world and we are proud to offer them!