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Published: August 22, 2022

When getting started in Traditional Chinese Medicine, it’s important for practitioners of herbal medicine to have a reputable herbal supplier so they know exactly where their herbs are coming from and that they are of the highest quality. Choosing an herbal supplier that has a reputation for its safety and quality can determine the success of a practice.

There are key factors to keep in mind and to look out for when picking an herbal supplier. In this article, we’ll discuss these factors and how to tell whether a supplier is reputable in providing high-quality herbs.

Herbal Supplier Price Differences

When sourcing herbs for a TCM practice, it’s crucial to make sure that the herbal supplier meets the standard requirements for safe and superior herbs. Gretchen Badami, a licensed acupuncturist and a graduate professor at Emperor’s College of Traditional Oriental Medicine, says the first step is to find out whether the supplier is a manufacturer or a distributor. 

Gretchen states that “You need to learn about quality control. You also need to learn about whether you’re buying from a manufacturer versus a distributor because that’s going to affect how much you’re paying for all your products.”

While manufacturers make their own herbs and sell them to practitioners at wholesale cost, distributors buy the herbs from manufacturers, then relabel them under their own brand and sell them at a higher price. As a result, depending on which part of the supply chain your supplier is at, you may be paying a higher price for the exact same product. Ultimately, it is ideal to source directly from a manufacturer at wholesale pricing to keep overhead costs low while still providing patients with high-quality, safe herbs. 

Meeting Standard Requirements

Not only will the prices of herbal products vary greatly between a manufacturer and a distributor, but the quality of herbs can also vary drastically. While there are many herb manufacturers and distributors on the market, not all of them produce herbs that meet all necessary standards. 

Gretchen emphasizes that quality control is first and foremost when choosing a reputable herbal supplier, “You have to go with a company that meets the highest standards possible.” Not all herbs from every company are created equally. Practitioners want to make sure the company they go with meets all their requirements. “There are a few companies out there that meet all of them. And then there are a lot of companies out there that don’t meet very many standards at all, and you have to learn what those are and how to look for them.”, says Gretchen.

A reputable herbal supplier should meet the following standards:

Ethical Sourcing & Authentic Ingredients

The norm in the herbal manufacturing industry used to be cultivating herbs organically. While some herb producers still source and use organic and authentic ingredients, not every producer works with herb farmers who use sustainable growing and harvesting practices. This can lead to a risk of herbs being contaminated with chemicals and industrial runoff.

Safe Quality Assurance & Manufacturing Processes

Quality assurance and safety are of the utmost importance for herbal suppliers. It’s important to source from a manufacturer that uses strict quality assurance and safety procedures. A credible herbal supplier will:

  • Authenticate the species, origin, and quality of the herb
  • Analyze herbs for sulfur dioxide
  • Test for chemical pesticides, aflatoxin, and heavy metals

After going through the above testing, a safe herbal manufacturing process should go through the following stages:

  • Clean all dirt and foreign materials from the herbs 
  • Take herbs through a process that includes specific methods for each herb tied to traditional practices
  • Extract herbs precisely to maximize efficiency
  • Collect and restore essential oils to then be reintroduced in the granulation stage after the herbal concentration stage
  • Package and inspect the herbs before giving a Certificate of Analysis

The Bottom Line: Find a Reputable Herbal Supplier

When it’s time to find an herbal supplier, it is crucial to find one that is reputable and prioritizes safety, quality, and high standards. KPC strives to meet the highest standards in the industry and provides only the highest quality herbal products to TCM practitioners. Gretchen, who has worked with KPC in the past, recommends KPC herbs as her go-to herbal supplier of choice. 

“I love KPC. They are the highest quality (herbs) in the world. They meet the highest herbal medicine standards and actually meet the same standards as pharmaceuticals. This means that your quality, your testing for adulterants, your testing for biochemical constituents, meaning that all of the correct biochemicals that are supposed to be within the herbs are actually there. All of those things are of the highest caliber in the world. So I firmly believe in KPC.”

KPC is an herbal manufacturer and supplier you can trust to provide you with top-quality products backed by over 100 years of industry experience. To find out more about our wholesale services, contact the KPC team today.

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*Please note: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to suggest specific treatments for patients or that any supplements mentioned prevent or cure diseases or problems. Before taking any herbs, all patients should discuss their options with a licensed practitioner, including any other medications the patient is currently taking, as there may be contraindications between pharmaceuticals and herbs.

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