Herbal Rip-offs Again…..not really !

By Dr. Alan Kadish

This morning’s NY Times has another report on the “blatant fraud” by four big box retailers. Wal-Mart, WalGreens, Target and GNC ripping off consumers by faking the contents of some herbal products. The NY attorney generals office has accused these firms of fraud and selling contaminated products. 

I can’t tell you how often we find that our patients question me regarding our use of verified manufacturers who adhere to the highest standards and yes they cost a small amount more……but…….you get what you thought you were buying. However this whole bruhaha is BS.

Why….. the method of evaluation is based on a  testing method NOT accepted by the FDA, Austrailians or the Canadians, to name a few. The proper evaluations are and have been done for decades with accuracy, using chromatography, not the DNA testing used to accurse these firms. Although I am not a fan of the big box herbals this attention grabbing nonsense is just another way to attack the herbal industry, period. If you want a good overview of the details go to an article entitled: Herbal Testing Twilight Zone  

          Good manufacturers consistently don’t accept any substitutions and do their checking for both genus and species, the fingerprints of the herbs, before accepting them into their factory.  Not appropriate, but still legal is the use of a herbal providers Certificate of Authenticity (COA). All of our providers that we use for herbal and other products go far in excess of this known potential fraud approach. In fact many utilize 3rd party assessments regularly.                 

Remember we haven’t even started the conversation on the many other aspects of good quality products, including checking for contaminants which often times from overseas include: drugs, toxic metals, colorants, substituted similar herbals and the list goes on.

Now for some good news…..you’re not stuck and can purchase herbal products with confidence. We direct our patients to a well respected shopping site, Natural Partners , who stock an extensive list of physician level supplements which are held to the higher standards. We also offer our patient a discount code: 97330 . Feel comfortable and know you’re buying quality products

Don’t waste money on junk, your health depends on it. Questions…. call us at the Center: 541.773.3191

Remember

ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE

What’s in Those Supplements?

By ANAHAD O’CONNOR date published FEBRUARY 3, 2015 12:00 AM date updated

February 3, 2015 12:00 am

Target’s “Up and Up” brand of St. Johns Wort and Valerian root contained none of those ingredients.

Credit

Yana Paskova for The New York Times

The New York State attorney general’s office accused four national retailers on Monday of selling dietary supplements that were fraudulent and in many cases contaminated with unlisted ingredients.

The authorities said they had run tests on popular store brands of herbal supplements at the retailers — Walmart, Walgreens, Target and GNC — which showed that roughly four out of five of the products contained none of the herbs listed on their labels. In many cases, the authorities said, the supplements contained little more than cheap fillers like rice and house plants, or substances that could be hazardous to people with food allergies.

At GNC, for example, the agency found that five out of six samples from the company’s signature “Herbal Plus” brand of supplements “were either unrecognizable or a substance other than what they claimed to be.” In pills labeled ginkgo biloba, the agency found only rice, asparagus and spruce, an ornamental plant commonly used for Christmas decorations.

At Target, the agency tested six herbal products from its popular “Up and Up” store brand of supplements. Three out of six – including ginkgo biloba, St. John’s wort and valerian root, a sleep aid – tested negative for the herbs listed on their labels. But the agency did find that the pills contained powdered rice, beans, peas and wild carrots.

Here are the products that were analyzed by the attorney general, along with the test results that were described in cease-and-desist letters that the agency sent to the four retailers.

From GNC, Herbal Plus brand:

Gingko Biloba:

  • No gingko biloba found
  • Did detect allium (garlic), rice, spruce and asparagus

St. John’s Wort

  • No St. John’s Wort found
  • Did detect allium (garlic), rice and dracaena (a tropical houseplant)

Ginseng

  • No ginseng found
  • Did detect rice, dracaena, pine, wheat/grass and citrus

Garlic

  • Contained garlic

Echinacea

  • No echinacea found
  • Did detect rice in some samples

Saw Palmetto

  • One sample contained the clear presence of palmetto
  • Other samples contained a variety of ingredients, including asparagus, rice and primrose

From Target, Up & Up brand

Gingko Biloba

  • No gingko biloba found
  • Found garlic, rice and mung/French bean

St. John’s Wort

  • No St. John’s Wort found
  • Found garlic, rice and dracaena (houseplant)

Garlic

  • Contained garlic
  • One test identified no DNA

Echinacea

  • Most but not all tests detected Echinacea
  • One test identified rice

Saw Palmetto

  • Most tests detected saw palmetto
  • Some tests found no plant DNA

Valerian Root

  • No valerian root found
  • Found allium, bean, asparagus, pea family, rice, wild carrot and saw palmetto

From Walgreens, Finest Nutrition brand

Gingko Biloba

  • No gingko biloba found
  • Did detect rice

St. John’s Wort

  • No St. John’s Wort found
  • Detected garlic, rice and dracaena

Ginseng

  • No ginseng found
  • Detected garlic and rice

Garlic

  • No garlic found
  • Detected palm, dracaena, wheat and rice

Echinacea

  • No echinacea found
  • Identified garlic, rice and daisy

Saw Palmetto

  • Contained saw palmetto

From Walmart, Spring Valley brand

Gingko Biloba

  • No gingko biloba found
  • Found rice, dracaena, mustard, wheat and radish

St. John’s Wort

  • No St. John’s Wort found
  • Detected garlic, rice and cassava

Ginseng

  • No ginseng found
  • Found rice, dracaena, pine, wheat/grass and citrus

Garlic

  • One sample showed small amounts of garlic
  • Found rice, pine, palm, dracaena and wheat

Echinacea

  • No echinacea or plant material found

Saw Palmetto

  • Some samples contained small amounts of saw palmetto
  • Also found garlic and rice

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.