Every ancient culture has developed the use of herbs for medicinal purposes over thousands of years’ experience. Many of our modern pharmaceuticals developed from plant compounds that our ancestors had used first as teas.
Western medicine has specialized in symptom removal using single molecules, or “silver bullets’ to very effectively target a specific action in the body. On the other side of the fence are herbalists and holistic practitioners who believe in the importance of consuming whole plants, rather than isolated compounds, because the synergy of all the plant’s phytonutrients is thought to be safer and healthier for restoring balance to the body.
Wellness teas sit in the midst of this polarity. Based on the traditional use of herbs from many cultures, wellness teas are gentle healing infusions made with herbs that are safe to drink on a daily basis to support whichever health regime you are following. They aren’t meant to cure any disease. They are meant to help the body’s own efforts to restore health by providing a wide variety of micronutrients that can modulate your health.
DSHEA: The Law That Protects Our Rights To Herbal Supplements
A law, called DSHEA, the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act, was passed in 1994 to govern the use of herbs and nutritional supplements in the USA and to specify the type of claims that could be made about them. Wellness teas have developed as dietary supplements under these guidelines.
The Supplement Facts box that you find on a wellness tea and “structure / function” claims in the label copy are all developed thanks to the DSHEA law. A structure / function claim is the permissible information that a company can tell you about what function or structure an herb or supplement supports in the body.
Problems develop when scientific studies show that an herb may have effectiveness against a disease but manufacturers are not allowed to tell the public about it. Just recently the FTC required Dr. Andrew Weil, the best known integrative medicine proponent in America, to remove an herbal product from his website because he had reported on studies showing that the herb stimulates the immune system and helps prevents colds and flu.
Why shouldn’t we consumers know this? Unfortunately, this kind of information crosses into the realm of disease and the multi-millions of dollars spent to develop new drugs for diseases. No one will spend that kind of money on herbal supplements because no one can patent them for their exclusive sale in order to regain the tremendous investment required for a new drug application.
We highly recommend supporting the work of a very important non-profit organization that publishes and educates the public about the medicinal value of herbs. The American Botanical Council (ABC) based in Austin, Texas was founded by Mark Blumenthal, an herbal industry pioneer, who has become the best spokesperson for herbal medicine in the US. ABC has multiple activities including the publication of herbal books and a magazine called HerbalGram, the distribution of reports on the latest herbal research in HerbClip, and the largest database of herbal medicine.
If you want reliable, authentic herbal information without any hype, ABC is where you will find it. For $50/year, you can support their valuable work with your membership and enjoy access to their database that keeps medicinal herbal information available for all of our benefit.