Herbal medicine can take many forms – raw herbs which you need to brew up yourself, powders, pills and tinctures. Which type of herbal medicine you choose may depend on a number of issues, including the severity of your condition, convenience and taste.
For severe conditions like cancer, we like to use raw herbs.
They tend to be just that bit stronger than powders or pills, which is why we use them for severe conditions. However they are a pain to brew up (you have to boil them for an hour or so once daily or every two days) and they not only taste worse than other preparations but the smell can linger in your house after you brew them up too.
Powders, pills and tinctures (as a group I will call these “patents”) are very convenient and for that reason are widely used.
Most conditions lend themselves well to the use of patents and, depending on the quality of the preparation, there is usually not too much of a difference in the effectiveness as compared with raw herbs that you brew up yourself. However, not all patents are created equal. Quality varies widely and it is extremely important to choose a high quality patent. Lesser quality patents may be contaminated with heavy metals and microbes, may contain adulterants such as steroids or other western drugs, or may simply not even contain the herbs they claim to contain.
Do not assume that if the herbs are being sold in NZ then they are of a high quality – customs and MAF check for endangered species and forbidden herbs but neither of them do any checks on heavy metals, microbial contamination etc. so even sub-quality herbs can easily be imported. As these products are being prescribed to the customer by a practitioner and are not for sale over the counter, they are not subject to the same regulations as products you find in a health store. Therefore it is really important that you look into the quality of what you are being prescribed yourself.
Centre of Balance are the sole distributors in NZ for Sheng Foong brand herbal formulas and powders.
We chose this brand because of its high quality and we have been to Taiwan to visit the factory. Sheng Foong runs an ISO17025 certified laboratory and subjects all products to strict quality inspections before being released to market. Products meet or exceed most national health and safety standards and are currently sold across Europe, the United States, Canada, Japan, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Australia.
Many brands of herbal preparations pass GMP or ISO 9001/2000, but this is not the same as being tested in an ISO17025 laboratory. GMP is not an international set standard and the GMP guidelines vary in every different country, moreover they are only a set of general principles to be observed during manufacturing, not a prescriptive way of doing things. ISO 9001/2000 requirements are generic and are intended to be applicable to all organizations, regardless of type, size and product provided. ISO/IEC 17025:2005 specifies the requirements for the competence to carry out tests and/or calibrations, including sampling. It is applicable to all organizations performing tests and/or calibrations.
These include, for example, first-, second- and third-party laboratories, and laboratories where testing and/or calibration forms part of inspection and product certification. So as you can see, it is much more important for herbal products to be tested in an ISO17025 laboratory than it is to meet ISO 9001/2000 requirements. Sheng Foong has not only passed GMP and ISO 9001/2000, but it runs an ISO17025 certified laboratory and subjects all products to strict quality inspections before being released to market.
Another thing that we love about Sheng Foong is their huge range. When we make up a prescription for a patient, it is always tailor made for that patient. The formula will likely contain a base formula or two and then the addition of various other single herbs that we feel that patient needs. Sometimes we just make the formula up entirely from single herbs. Some brands of patents have a limited range (especially when it comes to single herbs) which forces practitioners to try to fit what they have available to what the patient needs – it might not be quite right but they just have to make do as that is all that is available. We have over 150 different Sheng Foong formulas and over 250 different Sheng Foong single herbs in stock, so the likelihood is that we have exactly what you need.
If you would like more information on Sheng Foong herbs and their quality control please feel free to visit their website: www.shengfoong.com