Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Are Herbs All the Same?

I get asked some version of this question frequently.  A recent interaction triggered this blog post.  A patient had chosen to use an herb product she bought online versus the one that I recommended from the Standard Process herb line, MediHerb.  The follow-up test didn’t look any better, and there wasn’t much change in symptoms.  The dilemma it presented was that there could be 2 reasons.  The first is that the protocol we arrived at wasn’t what was needed, and the second was that the product she took wasn’t adequate to produce good clinical effect.

Shortly after that interaction information arrived from Standard Process with a detailed analysis comparing the content of several Echinacea products.  There are different forms of Echinacea, and different companies also use different qualities of herbal material. 

Echinacea is noted for its immune enhancing properties.  The effect comes from constituents in the herb called alkylmides and there are two types of these, 2-ene and 2,4-diene.  They must appear together for the herb to have good clinical effect.  The 2,4-diene alkymides generate much of the clinical effect, but they tend to be broken down quickly by human liver enzymes.  When they occur together with the 2-ene alkymides, they prevent the excessively quick liver breakdown and generate the good immune enhancing effect.

So what difference does which Echinacea used make?  Plenty.  It seems that Echinacea augustifolia doesn’t contain much of the 2-ene alkymides so the 2,4-diene alkymides get broken down too fast to generate much effect.  Echinacea purpurea contains a lot of the 2-ene form allowing better clinical effect.

MediHerb goes to great length to balance the two forms of Echinacea to generate optimal effect.  In an independent lab study MediHerb Echinacea Premium alkymide content was compared to 9 other commercial products. The chart shows the results.  The MediHerb product contained about 2 1/2 times as much alkymides as the next highest product and many times greater than most of the others.  The comparison chart at the bottom of how many tablets of each other product would have to be taken to equal the alkymides in a single Echinacea Premium.  So, are all herbs the same?  No, not at all.  As Paul Harvey used to say, “now you know the rest of the story”.

PS  -  As I was correcting the final proof of this post, I received a new 6-minute video from MediHerb showing the extent of their efforts to produce the best quality herbs.  So fitting!!
Click Here To See The MediHerb Video!

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