What is an herbalist? What does “holistic” mean? How can you evaluate herbal products?
My thanks to Herbalist Rebecca Montrone for having me as a guest on her radio show. Click here to listen to the Crila interview.
I met Rebecca years ago at a conference hosted by the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) where scientists from around the world shared their knowledge of medicinal plants. She is a certified holistic health practitioner, nutritionist and traditional apothecary/herbalist. Wondrous Roots is her practice in New Hampshire.
In medicinal terms, “holistic” takes the whole person into account; physical, mental, social, and environmental factors, not just the visible symptoms associated with a disease, injury or condition. Practitioners like Rebecca spend years to understand the relationship between our health and wellness, our surroundings, and how our daily choices in food and lifestyle directly impact our health. We can’t always change our environment. But things we can control, like what we eat and how we live, can have a powerful effect on how we feel at any age.
The average time a doctor spends with a patient is often measured in minutes; a quick review of a lab test; a question about a specific symptom. In today’s hectic world, most doctors haven’t time for an in-depth understanding of each patient as a whole. Medical school might include a few hours of instruction on nutrition – no time to master the wisdom behind “Let thy food be thy medicine.” Today, this traditional knowledge is passed on to us by herbalists, nutritionists, chiropractors, or naturopathic doctors.
These experts work with you directly or collaborate with your conventional doctor, to incorporate beneficial herbs and supplements into your care. Supplements can provide phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) we don’t make in our bodies. Unless we eat them, we don’t get those benefits. In Vietnam, fresh herbs are served in a basket alongside the meal, like we serve a basket of bread. An orphanage I visited in Vietnam had a medicinal herb garden alongside their vegetable garden because they can’t afford store-bought vitamins and remedies. Likewise, rising healthcare costs in America, see families turning to whole food nutrition and supplements to maintain wellness.
The internet gives savvy consumers access to facts about medicinal herbs from all over the world. In 2007, a 70-year-old friend set me on the path to find a rare prostate herb known in ancient times in Vietnam – which ultimately led to today’s Crila® you can buy online. What did he want? The same thing you want – a safe, effective natural product, backed by modern research, to support healthy prostate function, without problematic chemicals.
During Rebecca’s show, we touch on the extensive FDA regulation of supplements. Contrary to mistaken media perception, supplements are not an “unregulated” industry. A large body of laws govern supplements, starting with the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994, and the recent Food Safety Modernization Act of 2011. Crila Health works with American labs like Eurofins to certify potency and purity, and confirm the absence of adulteration, heavy metals and allergens. Scientists from UIC’s College of Pharmacy published test results confirming Crila® is Estrogen Free. We expect to publish more research later this year.
Aside from professional advice from an authority like Rebecca, how can you decide which products are best? How do you know if what’s on the label is what’s in the bottle? Start by looking for GMP certifications and independent testing at American labs. Does the product disclose potency standards? Crila® does. We don’t hide behind a “proprietary formula.” You know precisely the concentration of the key alkaloids and flavonoids you’re getting in our formula.
How do products source their ingredients? Crila® is Farm-to-Factory-to-Finished-Product. The key ingredient, a patented proprietary cultivar of Crinum latifolium, is all grown inhouse. There are many sub-species of Crinum latifolium that look alike, but there’s only one Crila®. Recently testing by the Ministry of Health in Vietnam of crinum from 84 growers confirmed Crila® is the only one that meets the standard. Cheap copycat products pop up, using a low cost crinum substitute instead of Crila®’s valuable patented ingredient. Don’t be fooled.
The FDA does its best to police dodgy products, but widespread enforcement is limited by federal budgets. The industry supports FDA regulation by promoting strong industry-wide best practices. Michael McGuffin, president of the American Herbal Product Association points out that “Adulteration of valuable botanical ingredients with cheaper material has existed as long as plants have been traded or sold, but evolving technology and continued collaboration between the industry and governments are creating new solutions and safeguards to detect and prevent adulteration.” Crila Health participates in underwriting the Botanical Adulterants Program, a collaboration between the American Botanical Council, the American Herbal Pharmacopoeia, and the University of Mississippi’s National Center for Natural Products Research. The NCNPR is a collaboration with FDA. We are members of both AHPA and ABC, and participate in the annual NCNPR conference just concluded. Questions? Write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you’re a man seeking to maintain holistic prostate health; a woman seeking relief from common menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats (I tell my own story on the program; or if you’re a younger woman who needs to promote uterine health, try Crila®*.
My thanks to Wondrous Roots for spreading the good word about Crila®. Although I’ve been involved in the natural wellness field for nearly ten years now, listening to Rebecca’s program last week I learned for the first time about the use of rose geranium oil to repel ticks, a problem for my dogs and cats in California and Vietnam. My order was delivered today and I look forward to using it!