Before there were drugs–even before there were drugstores–there were herbs. Joe’s grandfather was a pharmacist around the turn of the 20th century. He dispensed many medicines that were herbal mixtures he compounded for his clients.
Drugs from Herbs:
Some of the important medications used throughout the 20th century, drugs such as digoxin, metformin, warfarin and quinine, were initially developed through research on plant compounds. Significant cancer-fighting drugs like paclitaxel and vinblastine were also derived from botanicals. We like to remind ourselves that humans use the same molecular machinery to metabolize drugs as they do for herbs.
Research on Herbs:
We have been writing about herbs for decades, and we have been fascinated by the extraordinary amount of scientific research on their power. For example, there are more than 19,000 research articles in PubMed, the online access to the National Library of Medicine, on curcumin, the active ingredient in the yellow spice turmeric. (Check this link.)
The biggest problem in using herbs medicinally has been one of ensuring reliable quality. Even if you grow your own, you won’t have a good way of controlling the amount of active ingredient in your tea or tincture.
Purchasing commercial products is also problematic. It is difficult to determine purity or potency. The FDA does not appear very interested in regulating herbal products.
Meet Your Herbs:
We have never endorsed an herbal medicine company before. That’s because we were worried about quality assurance. One company has been on our radar for decades, though. Gaia Herbs has been producing herbal medicines since the late 1980s. (The name Gaia comes from the Greek goddess of Earth, mother of all life.)
We were aware that quality control was a key value for the company from its earliest days. The company’s founder started by supplying certified organically grown herbs. Its current focus is on providing each herb’s full spectrum of compounds with no artificial additives.
Trust But Verify:
We have long been enthusiastic about former President Ronald Reagan’s direction to “trust but verify.” Gaia Herbs now makes that possible for every customer. The company tests and tracks its products closely and it has a very unusual program that provides transparency into the testing results.
Each box from Gaia Herbs has a code next to its “best by” date. You can go to the website GaiaHerbs.com and enter that code in the Meet Your Herbs box. Immediately, you get information on the date of manufacture, the best by date and the testing results on that batch: microbes, heavy metals, identity (does it have what it should in the bottle), pesticide and strength. The goal of the testing is to ensure purity, integrity and potency. The goal of sharing the test results is transparency. Gaia’s commitment to rigorous testing and industry-leading herbal transparency confidently cultivates the relationship between people and plants to deliver Nature’s goodness.
As you can see, Gaia Herbs is a company that shares our values. In fact, it is a certified B corporation, working to build a sustainable and inclusive economy. That is why we are so pleased that they are now underwriting The People’s Pharmacy. Use the code PEOPLE20 when you shop at GaiaHerbs.com for a 20 percent discount on botanical medicines of the highest quality.