Ever Wonder Where Your Herbal Supplements Come From ?

Safe Chinese herbal supplementsHave you ever you wondered where your herbal supplements really come from?  Did you know that 95% of what you're buying at U.S. health food stores originated in China or was processed in China or India?  

Below is a section of one of the many emails I get nearly daily from companies who want to sell me their ingredients.  As you can see much of it is written in Mandarin and there is no mistake the company selling these ingredients is based in China.  When I inquired with them about testing of their products they, like so many companies have DO no testing on their raw materials or finished products.   I said, "WHAT, NO TESTING?"   Yup, that's right.  No tests!  That means if the farment used pesticides you will get pesticides in your herbal supplements.  

 If you are concerned your supplements may contain heavy metal, pesticides, bacteria, E-Coli, and other contaminents you are right.  They probably do!  Get your products from a trusted source.  Only buy from companies that produce COA's (Certificates of Analysis) and have lot numbers and expiration dates on their products.  This is the only way to know you're not getting cheap ingredients produced at the cheapest prices without testing and without assurance that your herbal supplements and vitamins are truly safe. 

More on COA's here!

P.S.  All Pacific Herbs products are produced with COA's, Lot numbers and have over 200 purity and potency tests before they are packaged into finished products. 


Dear Madam,

This is our company's hot-selling products recently Vitamin C- Ascorbic acid (from Tapioca Grade / Cassava) (corn), soy and green tea.  We have best price and most favorable terms. Please contact me at numbers below. We ship directly.

Serial     number    Name      Active principle

01         大豆提取物(Soybean P.E.)  大豆异黄酮(Soy Isoflavones)

02        山楂叶提取物(Hawthorn Leaf Extract) 山楂叶黄酮(Hawthorn Leaf Flavones)熊果酸(Ursolic acid)

03       绿茶提取物(Green Tea P.E.)   茶多酚(Tea Polyphenols)儿茶素(Catechins )咖啡因(Caffeine )

04     黑升麻提取物(Black Cohosh P.E.)三萜皂甙(Triterpene Glycosides)

05     槐米提取物(Pagodatree Flower Bud Extract )卢丁(Rutin)

06     葡萄籽提取物(Grape Seed P.E) 原花青素(Proanthocyanidins)

Look forward to your reply.

John  

Sales Manager

(Company information deleted to for my protection)

Chinese Herbs From A Western Medicine Viewpoint

How a Harvard-trained doctor began to appreciate Traditional Chinese Medicine, TCM.

As a child growing up in China, I was always aware of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). TCM is what we refer to as Eastern medicine, in contrast to the Western medicine we know from U.S. hospitals. I never understood much about TCM, only that it somehow involves herbs and that many Chinese people used it. The more I progressed in my medical training in major U.S. academic centers, the more distanced I felt from TCM. Why should I learn about something that lacks evidence, when there’s so much to know about for which there is good research?

 

Last fall, I went to China on a research trip. While my study is primarily on its Western medical system, I was so fascinated by what I learned of Eastern medicine that I spent many free evenings observing TCM practitioners. There is so much I didn’t know. As a discipline, TCM is far too complex for me to understand in my short observation, but there are some very important “lessons from the East” that are applicable to our Western medical practice:

 

#1. Listen—really listen. The first TCM practitioner I shadowed explained to me that to practice TCM is to “listen with your whole body”. Pay attention and use every sense you have, he said. I watched this doctor as he diagnosed a woman with new-onset cervical cancer and severe anemia the moment she walked into his exam room, and within two minutes, without blood tests or CTs, sent her to be admitted to a (Western) medical service. I’ve seen expert clinicians make remarkable diagnoses, but this was something else!

“How could you know what you had and that she needed to be admitted?” I asked.

“I smelled the cervical cancer,” he said. “I looked and saw the anemia. I heard her speak and I knew she could not care for herself at home.” (I followed her records in the hospital; he was right on all accounts.)

 

#2. Focus on the  diagnosis. I watched another TCM doctor patiently explain to a young woman with long-standing abdominal pain why painkillers were not the answer.

“Why should we treat you for something if we don’t know what it is?” he said. “Let’s find out the diagnosis first.” What an important lesson for us—to always begin the diagnosis.

 

#3. Treat the whole person. “A big difference between our two practices,” said one TCM doctor, “Is that Western medicine treats people as organs. Eastern medicine treats people as a whole.” Indeed, I watched her inquire about family, diet, and life stressors. She counseled on issues of family planning, food safety, and managing debt. She even helped patients who needed advice on caring for the their elderly parents and choosing schools for their child. This is truly “whole person” care!

 

#4. Health is not just about disease, but also about wellness. There is a term in Chinese that does not have its exact equivalent in English. The closest translation is probably “tune-up to remain in balance”, but it doesn’t do the term justice, because it refers to maintaining and promoting wellness. Many choose to see a TCM doctor not because they are ill, but because they want to be well. They believe TCM helps them keep in balance. It’s an important lesson for doctors and patients alike to address wellness and prevention.

 

#5. Medicine is a life-long practice. Western medicine reveres the newest as the best; in contrast, patients revere old TCM doctors for their knowledge and experience. Practicing doctors do not rest on their laurels.

“This is a practice that has taken thousands of years to develop,” I was told. “That’s why you must keep learning throughout your life, and even then you will only learn just a small fraction.” Western medicine should be no different: not only are there new medical advances all the time, doctors need to continually improve their skills in the art of medicine.

 

#6. Evidence is in the eyes of the beholder. Evidence-based medicine was my mantra in Western medical training, so I was highly skeptical of the anecdotes I heard. But then I met so many patients who said that they were able to get relief from Eastern remedies while Western treatments failed them. Could there be a placebo effect? Sure. Is research important? Of course. But research is done on populations, and our treatment is of individuals. It has taken me a while to accept that I may not always be able to explain why—but that the care should be for the individual patient, not a population of patients.

“In a way, there is more evidence for our type of medicine than for yours,” a TCM teacher told me. “We have four thousand years of experience—that must count for something!”

 

There is so much I have not covered about TCM. Its practices vary regionally, and no doubt, there are more and less capable practitioners (as there are in Western medicine). More research into TCM methods will be important. However, regardless of whether we Western doctors want to prescribe TCM treatments, we should recognize there is much to learn from Eastern medicine, including what it means to be a physician to really care for our patients. Upon my return from China, I, for one, have a new found appreciation for Eastern medical practice and a renewed understanding of holistic medical care.

How To Harmonize Your Health With Licorice Root

Pacific Herbs uses highest quality licorice in its formulasWe have all heard of licorice, but what it is used FOR, is a bit of a mystery. Licorice is used in nearly every Chinese herbal formula (and there are thousands) because it is known to “harmonize the formula”.

Well, what the heck does that mean?  Because licorice root can ameliorate the blood (make it better by kick starting your blood and energy), it facilitates the gastrointestinal tract’s absorption process of the herbs in the formula.  Researchers have been studying this process for years, and although scientists do not completely understand the “how” of why licorice does what it does, it is known that it does work.

Licorice root “harmonizes” herbal formulas by helping your GI tract.  Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root has been used to treat stomach ulcers, it has antioxidant qualities (the root contains flavonoids), contains amino acids that help build healthy cells and muscles, and treats upper respiratory infections, viral infections and a sore throat. Amazingly, it is classified as an adaptogen, and helps the body deal with stress! What a versatile chinese herb!

It is important to know that it’s better to use the whole herb rather than chemicals isolated from the herb because all the components of the herb together produce the desired effect. Once again, we get back to “harmony”.

All Pacific Herbs products are produced using the gold standard of pharmaceutical grade processing to ensure the most potent formulation, then stored in convenient packets that are air, water and light tight. This unique packaging keeps the all-natural compounds in our Herb Packet vital for an unprecedented 4-year shelf life while offering the convenience of a highly portable, pocket-sized pack that can be taken anywhere. The herbal ingredients are tasty and available in a powder that can be dissolved in your mouth or in hot or cold water.

Additionally, Pacific Herbs products are the most potent on the market, using the highest quality Chinese herbs available that are both safe and effective. Our manufacturing facility has state-of-the-art equipment to cook, dry and package botanicals. All Pacific Herbs Chinese herbal products are extensively tested for pesticides and other contaminants. Pacific Herbs Packets are stamped with a lot number traceable to a Certificate of Analysis (COA) of testing date. Manufacturing is under strict Current Good Manufacturing Process (cGMP) and International Standards Organization (ISO) standards.

 

References: [1] Effect of licorice on the reduction of body fat mass in healthy subjects. Armanini D, De Palo CB, Mattarello MJ, Spinella P, Zaccaria M, Ermolao A, Palermo M, Fiore C, Sartorato P, Francini-Pesenti F, Karbowiak I. J Endocrinol Invest. 2003 Jul;26(7):646-50. [2] Glycyrrhetinic acid, the active principle of licorice, can reduce the thickness of subcutaneous thigh fat through topical application. Armanini D, Nacamulli D, Francini-Pesenti F, Battagin G, Ragazzi E, Fiore C. Steroids. 2005 Jul;70(8):538-42. Epub 2005 Apr 12. [3] The treatment of atopic dermatitis with licorice gel. Saeedi M, Morteza-Semnani K, Ghoreishi MR. J Dermatolog Treat. 2003 Sep;14(3):153-7. [4] The efficacy of licorice root extract in decreasing transaminase activities in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Hajiaghamohammadi AA, Ziaee A, Samimi R. Phytother Res. 2012 Sep;26(9):1381-4. doi: 10.1002/ptr.3728. Epub 2012 Feb 6. Other Sources: Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements, second edition, ed, Paul M. Coates, 2005, Marcel Dekker, New York, pp. 479 – 486.

Can Cash Register Receipts Cause PMS?

As women, our hormonal cycles can make us an emotional mess! From our first period to our last, we are dominated by our hormones.  These tricky little messengers can run around amuck in our bodies for years and are often never “on a short lease and house trained.”  This is my motto and the way I like my hormones.

 

In other words, I want some predictability.   I don’t want the unknown creeping into my day and then I blow a fuse without any warning.  I think my family appreciates this too, especially my kids!   But life is not always so predictable and neither are our hormones.  If you agree, then it’s time to do something about them!

 

Hormonal balance is possible, in fact it’s absolutely essential to maintaining our good health. This has become harder to do with all the chemicals we find everywhere and so many products we take for granted our safe to us.  The fact is our bodies absorb many chemicals through our skin that can throw our hormonal balance into a spiraling nose dive.  As you probably know hormonal imbalance is the precursor to PMS, menstrual cramps, peri-menopause and menopause symptoms. So keeping the balance is crucial no matter what your age.

  

Here's one tip on a chemicals you may have already heard about but didn't realize it could be sneeking into your body in ways you never considered.

The chemical is BPA’s (Bisphenol A)  a known endocrine disrupting chemical which acts like estrogen in our body. Did you know that cash register receipts are made from thermal papers that contain high amounts of BPA’s.  When you touch these receipts or even handle cash today, (much of the BPA’s are landing on our cash) you potentially have high amounts of BPA’s on your hands. The cumulative effect is the effect we are worried about here.  Your action step to prevent BPA’s entering your body is easy.

Wash your hands before you eat or touch you mouth.

It should be part of our daily hygiene anyway.  But often times we eat on the run, pick up fast food and have just touched the receipt of the food we bought.   Just be cognitive, that you may not really need that receipt.

Politely decline taking the receipt. Washing your hands may seem like a simple baby step to creating better health and healing for your body from PMS to menopausal symptoms.  But,  adding a whole lot of small healthy steps together takes you from a standstill to a full sprint in creating better health.  If you have more questions revisit the information on BPA’s in the book, Stop Your Bitching…naturally! or get "30 Days of Tips To Stop Your Bitching…naturally!  The book of tips is an easy to follow guidebook with one TIP for everyday of the month to help you bring balance back to your hormonal shifts..NATURALLY.  

Get 30 Days of Tips FREE from October 18-20th, 2013 on Amazon downloadable books. 

 

 

Natural Menstrual Cramp Relief fast with PMS Relief Herb Pack from Pacific Herbs

Chinese Herbs Reduce Hot Flashes Says American Menopause Society

HT Hormone Therapy Risks

The American Menopause Society recently published the results of a study on the use of Chinese herbs as a menopause treatment.  It's always nice to see a clinical trial like this published in English (many are in Mandarin only)  and this study was completed in a manner consistent with top notch clinical protocol.  The study was double-blind, randomized and controlled…..ahhhh the gold standard for clinical research.

 

Chinese Herbal Formulas Can Reduce Menopausal Hot Flashes Safely and Effectively

The women in the study were experiencing menopausal hot flashes and were between the ages of 40 to 50 years old.  The participants drank either a concentrated extract of herbal granules twice daily for 12 weeks or a placebo, fake herbal tea.  The women who drank the Chinese herb remedy found their hot flashes dropped by 62%.  Most importantly, the dosage of herbs was discussed in this trial and the participants used 15 grams of concentrated extracts in a sachet each day.  (See Menopause Relief Herb Packet herbal granules here)
 
 
It is important to note the herbs were dried into granules and no pills or capsules were used in this trial. Pills and capsules always contain fillers. It is also very difficult to take 15 grams (15,000 milligrams) of herbal concentrate when taking pills or capsules because it requires a high number of pills to be swallowed.  In this case it would be 15-20 pills per dose.
 
 
THE TREND CONTINUED

Even three months after the study ended, the participants said their hot flashes did not increase after the study ended and they stopped using the menopause herbal remedy. This study shows, compared with Hormone Replacement therapy, Chinese herbs are a safe and viable alternative for menopause symptoms. 

 

Although previous studies have found that Chinese herbs can help reduce hot flashes, those studies were not of the same quality methodology as this study, according to the researchers at Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society.

 

SOURCE: Menopause: The Journal of The North American Menopause Society, online February 25, 2013.

Dandelion For Breast Cancer

News from the University of New Mexico, the lowly dandelion has been shown effective at fighting breast cancer and prostate cancer. Used for centuries in Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine the dandelion plant has been used for many aliments.

 

"The study demonstrates a number of of previously unknown effects of Taraxacum officinale on human cancer cells and suggests that TO (dandelion) extracts or individual components present in the extracts may be of value as novel anti-cancer agents"1

.

The medicinial benefits from dandelion in this study are attributed to one specific Taraxacum species extract so don't assume the dandelion you buy at your local farmers market or that growing in the lawn will have the same health benefits.

 

We know that plants and herbs all play a significant role in the discovery of new medicines particularly in the area of cancer research. In Traditional Chinese Medicine  (TCM) dandelion is used to clear heat, especially liver heat with red, swollen, painful eyes.  Dandelion also goes by the name Pu gong ying and has been known to dissipate nodules and reduce abscesses in the breast and promote lactation when lack is due to heat.  Pu gong ying has been used in treating breast cancer in TCM for many years and this study confirms why dandelion is a one of the most useful herbs for breast cancer patients.


 

References:

1. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ONCOLOGY 32: 1085-1090, 2008

Evaluation of aqueous extracts of Taraxacum officinale on growth and invasion of breast and prostate cancer cells    SOPHIA C. SIGSTEDT1, CARLA J. HOOTEN1, MANIKA C. CALLEWAERT1, AARON R. JENKINS1,ANNTHERESE E. ROMERO1, MICHAEL J. PULLIN2, ALEXANDER KORNIENKO3,TIMOTHY K. LOWREY4, SEVERINE VAN SLAMBROUCK1* and WIM F.A. STEELANT1*

 

Laboratories of 1Biochemical and Biomedical Research, 2Aqueous Environmental Chemistry, and 3Synthetic Organic and Medicinal Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, New Mexico Tech, Socorro, NM; 4UNM Herbarium, Museum of Southwestern Biology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA   Received December 4, 2007; Accepted January 25, 2008

 

Wall Street Journal Reports on Placenta Popularity

After nine months of gestation and then birthing a child, a women has every right to be exhausted.  What every new mother needs is a diet rich in nutrients and blood building foods to replenish her body.  The placenta is the secret that can return a woman’s vitality quickly.  

I’m happy to see the Wall Street Journal report on what seems incredulous, eating your placenta.   American hospitals have treated childbirth as practically a disease that needs medical intervention for decades. This growing phenomenon, of eating the placenta is as natural as childbirth and a welcome return to the wisdom of women.

A placenta holds a wealth of nutrients and should never be disregarded as medical waste.

Here’s the blogs I wrote on Eating Your Placenta, more than a year ago.   Enjoy!


Never quite sure what will inspire me to write a blog but seeing this video today did the trick.  This blog is about the human placenta and why women are now calling  “a placenta cooking lady” to prepare their placenta’s into pills to ingest after childbirth.   The placenta is attached to the fetus via the umbilical cord.  Once the baby is born the placenta and cord are considered medical waste (so we’re told) at the hospital.  We’ve known for some time the  umbilical cord  is a source of stem cell research and many wealthy parents now have the cord frozen and stored, a insurance policy of sorts for future medical needs.  Recently, in a return to ancient wisdom and in conjunction with science we are relearning about the tremendous nutritional value of the human placenta.  Chinese Medicine has understood this value for generations. Ingesting dried placenta in pill form can help a new mother recuperate from childbirth and reclaim some lost blood and nutrients.

 

You can have your placenta cooked, dried and placed into pills to supplement your child birth recovery.  Those that have used  placenta pills after birth swear they have a shorter recovery from postpartum hemorrhaging, more energy from replenished nutrients, increased milk production and no post-partum depression. In fact, a good friend of mine recently gave birth and she has just finished taking her placenta pills.  This was the first time she had placenta prepared into pills and she reported feeling energized and healthier than after her previous child births.  She said it was a little like a caffeine type energy boost without the caffeine and she had an extremely easy recovery overall.  This was her sixth child!

 

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, placenta is considered a powerful and sacred yang tonic. The placenta is cooked with a few herbs and wine.  Wine in Chinese medicine has a dispersing action and therefore helps to distribute the placentas nutrients throughout the women’s body.  The placenta is full of natural oxytocins which are responsible for contracting the uterus, it also contains  hormones which is believed to be the reason it helps with postpartum depression.  Historically Chinese Medicine has used human placenta for those who have low energy.  Interestingly, it is the only meat that comes from life, not death and other mammals do eat their placentas.  Maybe the animal kingdom has something to teach us.

Check out this link at Time Magazine, there is a short video showing the placenta being prepared,  in case you’ve never seen one.

Video: placenta it’s whats for dinner

Do Raw Foodies Take Chinese Herbs?

raw foodies love Chinese herbsIf you are eating a raw food diet, should you be drinking cooked Chinese herbs?  This question seems to come up more often as more people are becoming raw foodies?  

 

My answer is always the same, yes, you should use cooked herbs rather than raw.  (All our products have been cooked, or extracted.)

Here's why.

Many of the herbs used in Traditional Chinese medicine are roots which tend to be very fibrous.  Humans don't necessarily have the enzymes to break down all this fiber.  When the herbs are cooked, the medicinal value can be extracted from them and easily absorbed without eating all the fibrous materials.  

Even though plants do have a enzymes,  they are preserved when cooked at a low temperature.  One fairly common enzyme in plants called protease,  it often begins a chain of reactions for breaking down proteins. 
The best known plant protease is papain, from the latex of the papaya tree, Carica papaya,  is used commercially in the manufacture of meat tenderizers.  I  thought this was a fun fact… maybe not.

Back to our topic.   More importantly, the traditional method of using Chinese herbs for thousands of years is through water based extraction.  This encompasses boiling the herbs in a purified water for about an hour and then straining and drinking.  Recent studies show water based extraction preserves the herbal chemical constituents but it is also provides the body with the fastest method of bio-availability for the active constituents.

New technologies in herbal processing allow for capture of essential oils which tend to evaporate fairly quickly when cooking on the stove top. Which is why your kitchen smells like mint in the first 5 minutes of boiling mint leaves.   Using sophisticated equipment preserves all the active ingredients by re-introducing the captured essential oils after cooking is completed.  Our short video explains it all.  Take a look here, it's only 3 minutes.

Great to be a raw foodie, but when it comes to herbs you're better off with a cooked product.

Boost Your Immune System with This Herb, Dr. Weil Says

Astragalus  root, also known as Huang Qi  or astragulus membranaceous has been used for over 2000 years to keep people healthy.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine today we may call it “supplementing your Qi”, either way it’s boosting your immune system to fight off stress and everyday germs.  Add it to boiling water for some tea  and you will have more energy and increase your natural immunities.  Dr. Andrew Weil calls it one of the five supplements he recommends for a healthy immune system.  This herb is also known as an adaptogen.

Astragalus is usually used in combination with other herbs in Chinese herbal medicine.  iI is commonly used to supplement spleen/pancreas and stomach energy.  It is both safe and inexpensive and is commonly found in Asian cooking.   You may even want to add it to homemade chicken soup  for a kick ass immune busting soup. 

If you prefer the more convenient pre-cooked astragalus you can find them here.   Adding a little bit of granules to warm water and drink as a tea or add it to your favorite shake or juicing recipe. Granules are the preferred method throughout Asia simply because they won’t attract bugs like most raw hers do after sitting in your cabinet for a long time and the convenience can’t be beat. Our Astragalus granules are the highest grade available and although we cannot verify certified organic, they are always thoroughly tested for contaminants and as close to organic as is possible.

Goji Berries Price Increases, How Much Are the Benefits Worth?

best herb Goji berries

  • With the price of Goji berries going through the roof, I'm ready to plant my own bushes and grow them myself.  I guess the secret is out on the benefits of this tiny, tart berry.  It has only taken 30 years since modern day researchers discovered this marvelous little Chinese herb that has been used for centuries. 

Here is a list of benefits based on modern research and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • Improve brain function

  • Reduces fatigue

  • Has liver protector qualities

  • Enhances vision

  • Energy booster and Immunity booster

  • Increase libido

  • Reduces symptoms of diabetes

  • Reduces menopause night sweats

  • Over 60 studies show goji support healthy heart function

  • Goji have been combined with cancer drugs to reverse cancer growth

 

 

One of the largest scientific studies on lycium fruit, (latin name) reported  that eating 50 grams (slightly less than 2 ounces) of Goji Berry caused an increase in the white blood cell count. There was also an increase of 75 % in antibody immunoglobin A (IgA).

We added a large dose of goji berry to our Menopause Relief Herb Pac. It helped improved the taste while helping with night sweats.  Although it may have some benefit as a natural sleep aid, it has more proven benefit of helping to reduce menopausal night sweats.

Goji berry also reduces DNA damage and protect DNA in animal studies. This is great news for anyone who concerned about aging. Goji berry also protects your liver.

The berries contain a compound called cerebrosides ks and is better at protecting the liver than milk thistle.

Goji berry’s polysaccharides protect testicular cells against damage from free radicals.

Goji berry also protect against Alzheimer’s disease by protecting the neurons in the brain against beta amyloid protein. This deadly protein is associated with Alzheimer’s. This is welcome news since Alzheimer’s is expected to reach epidemic levels in aging baby boomers.

Another study showed the Goji polysaccharides increase the production of interleukin-2. This protein protects against cancer and bacteria.

Goji berry may reduce insulin resistance. Diabetic animals  fed Goji berries for three weeks show reduced weight and improved triglyceride, cholesterol and insulin levels.

In conclusion, Goji berry is immune-enhancing, cytoprotective and anti-tumor, a  true win-win-win combination.

We now have two excellent Goji berriers products, capsules and granule powder.  Our granules can be easily added to a shake or sprinkled on food or dissolved in warm water to drink as a tea. I like to place a little on my tongue and savor the flavor.    Our granules/powder are highly concentrated and one bottle will last at least a month. Capsules are easy to take and convenient. You can find them both in our store, here.    

References:

  1. Tian M and Wang M, Studies on extraction, isolation, and composition of Lycium barbarum polysaccharides, Journal of Traditional Chinese Herb Drugs, 2006 31(19): 1603–1607
  2. Yong Peng, et.al., Quantification of zeaxanthin dipalmitate and total carotenoids in Lycium fruits, 2006 Plant Foods for Human Nutrition, 60(4): 161–164
  3. Trieschmann M, et.al., Changes in macular pigment optical density and serum concentrations of its constituent carotenoids following supplemental lutein and zeaxanthin, Experimental Eye Research 2007; 84(4): 718–728
  4. Rosenthal JM, et.al., Dose-ranging study of lutein supplementation in persons aged 60 years or older, Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science 2006; 47(12): 5227–5233
  5. Wang Qiang, et.al., Determination of polysaccharide contents in Fructus Lycii, Chinese Traditional and Herbal Drugs 1991; 22(2): 67–68
  6. Yu MS, et.al., Characterization of the effects of anti-aging medicine Fructus lycii on beta-amyloid peptide neurotoxicity, International Journal of Molecular Medicine 2007; 20(2): 261–268
  7. Qian JY, Liu D, and Huang AG, The efficiency of flavonoids in polar extracts of Lycium chinense Mill fruits as free radical scavenger, Food Chemistry 2004; 87(2): 283–288
  8. Cheng CY, et.al., Fasting plasma zeaxanthin response to Fructus barbarum in a food-based human supplementation trial, British Journal of Nutrition 2005; 93(1): 123–130
  9. Chang RC and So KF, Use of Anti-aging Herbal Medicine, Lycium barbarum, Against Aging-  associated Diseases, Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology 2007

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – New York Times Says Prevention Starts with Diet

Breast Cancer awareness month is here and unless you are living in a bubble, you see pink everywhere.  From foods to football, products show their support with pink ribbons plastered on them.  I saw a pink oatmeal container at the market and now Monday night football.  The entire half time show of the Dolphins-Patriots game honored breast cancer survivors with a huge pink ribbon spread across the football field.  I say “great”, but let’s also concentrate on prevention and not just hope for “a cure”. 


This article, written by a guest blogger, originated in the NY Times Science section, and shows that living a healthy life style can actually decrease your cancer risk.  Chinese Herbs have been used for decades to help with diet, digestion and weight loss.  If you struggle with maintaining a normal body weight, consider adding  digestive enzymes and Chinese herbs to your daily routine for proper digestion and restful sleep.  Sleep rejuvenates your body and provides the vital energy that you may otherwise try to compensate for with extra food. 
(See this article on how restorative sleep can improve weight loss)


by Kath Bartlett MS. L.Ac. –  Ashville, NC
Obesity dramatically increases a woman’s risk of developing breast cancer by 50-100%, the risk increasing “the older the woman gets and the longer she remains obese.” (1) The reason being is that the abdominal fat cells convert steroid (fat soluble) hormones to estrogen. In the breasts, the additional estrogen created binds to the breast cells, promoting “cell division and potentially tumor growth.” (2) Cancer cells are abnormal cell growth: the additional cell division cause the tumor growth. Adipose tissue (fat) contains an enzyme, aromatase, that converts steroid hormones into estrogen. After menopause, the ovaries and pituitary gland are no longer signaling for estrogen production through the monthly menstrual cycle. To compensate, the amount of aromatase in the adipose tissue increases to step up estrogen production. Obese women have higher levels of estrogen production taking place in the body fat of the hips and stomach, which increases during menopause, which raises the risk of tumors developing in the breast.

“Glucose [blood sugar] is the preferred substrate for cancer cells. . . [In a study] mice injected with aggressive mammary [breast] tumors were placed on 3 diets. After 70 days 95% of the mice on the low-sugar diet were alive. Of the mice on the moderate-sugar diet 67% were alive. And only 33% on a high-sugar diet were alive. Also ‘moderate’ alcohol consumption is associated with elevation in the risk for breast cancer from 50-100%.” (3)

Phytoestrogens have a chemical structure similar to estrogen. They bind to the receptor sites on the breasts, preventing the body’s estrogen from binding and causing tumor cell growth. The phytoestrogens that bind to the breast cell estrogen receptor sites have a weaker influence on breast cell production, so that it is less likely that tumors will form. Common food sources of phytoestrogens include: soy (tofu, tempeh, miso), flax and raw pumpkin seeds, clover and mung bean sprouts. Avoid powdered soy concentrate, these have caused some to develop Hashimoto’s thyroid disease. (4)

Studies have shown that phytoestrogens increase the effectiveness of breast cancer treatments. Borage oil has shown to decrease the growth of breast cancer cells. (5)

Eating an organic diet, and limiting exposure to chemicals, including household cleaners, detergents, pesticides, food packaging (plastics leach into foods, especially when warm foods are put into plastic containers) is also important to reduce cancer risk. Chemicals and pesticides can change the DNA of cells, causing them to mutate into cancer cells. Studies have shown higher levels of pesticides and pollutants in fat and blood of women with breast cancer than in healthy women.

1-6. Lahans, T. Integrating Conventional and Chinese Medicine in Cancer Care. Elsevier 2007; 92-102.

Herbal Supplements Can Be Potentially Dangerous, U.S. Study

Chamomile a safe Chinese herb unless grown with pesticidesMercury, lead, and arsenic, oh my!  Seriously folks, what’s in your herbal supplements? Whether they are Chinese herbs or Western herbs or a blend of both you should know.  A perfectly safe herb like chamomile in this picture can be terribly harmful if grown with pesticides.  A government study on contaminants in herbal dietary supplements found lots more than the three dangerous toxins mentioned above.  Gregory Kutz, Managing Director Forensic Audits and Special Investigations in his report given to the U.S. Senate,  “Special Committee on Aging”  in May 2010  (can you believe there is really such a committee), found high amounts of  cadmium, and residues from organichlorine and organophosphorous pesticides. “These contaminants were selected based on prevalence and the likelihood of negative health consequences as a result of consumption.”  Guess what, heavy metals and toxins do cause negative health consequences.              

It all started when the GAO office of the U.S. government  purchased 40 unique single-ingredient herbal supplement products from 40 different manufacturers and submitted them to an accredited laboratory for analysis. The  government survey identified the most commonly used herbs among the elderly as chamomile, echinacea, garlic, ginkgo biloba, ginseng, peppermint, saw palmetto, and St. John’s wort and then purchased these Chinese herb and Western herb products.  As part of their investigation they had the herbs analyzed at independent laboratories.  What’s crazy, is not what the test showed about the supplements but that pesticide residue is not considered by the Food and Drug Administration, to be of regulatory significance.  In other words, your herbal supplements can be contaminated with all kinds of pesticides and still be legally sold in the U.S. for health benefits.

Who’s products do you buy? Do your homework and know whether your supplement manufacturer is testing products for dangerous pesticides and heavy metals like arsenic, lead and mercury.  I, like you, want to know my herbs come from the cleanest possible sources and are not contaminated with chemicals before I ingest them.

A little secret.  Pac Herbs products are some of the most tested herbs in the industry.  Check out our manufacturer KPC for more information on all the testing they perform before raw herbs can be considered for processing.

Link to the full study here.