We often get inquiries about where our herbs come from. Patients want to know if they’re safe or if they may contain pesticides or heavy metals. They ask if the herbs are ethically sourced or if we use endangered products. Many of our patients take herbs twice a day for weeks, months, or even years, so it’s understandable they’d want to know what they’re consuming. We take the quality and safety of our herbal products seriously and want our sourcing process to be transparent.
Herbal Medicine Regulation
Five Point predominantly sources our herbs from Sun Ten Laboratories, a pharmaceutical grade herb company based in Taiwan. Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) is a member of the Pharmaceutical Inspection Co-operation Scheme (PIC/S), “a non-binding, informal co-operative arrangement between Regulatory Authorities in the field of Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) of medicinal products for human or veterinary use.”  PIC/S is an international organization that standardizes manufacturing practices and inspection procedures among Food and Drug regulating authorities. PIC/S membership guarantees that medicinals produced in another country, such as Taiwan, go through the same scrutinized testing that they would if produced in the United States.
China is not a PIC/S member, so while herbal products made in China are available for purchase in the US, the safety of many of those products cannot be guaranteed.
Current Good Manufacturing Practices
Sun Ten follows current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), which are regulations on manufacturing processes enforced by the FDA. Adherence to the CGMP regulations “assures the identity, strength, quality, and purity of drug products by requiring that manufacturers of medications adequately control manufacturing operations. This includes establishing strong quality management systems, obtaining appropriate quality raw materials, establishing robust operating procedures, detecting and investigating product quality deviations, and maintaining reliable testing laboratories. This formal system of controls at a pharmaceutical company, if adequately put into practice, helps to prevent instances of contamination, mix-ups, deviations, failures, and errors.” Sun Ten follows manufacturing practices that allow them to guarantee the following standards.
Sun Ten works closely with private growers and suppliers who meet strict standards. They avoid buying herbs on the public market in order to avoid inferior quality, adulterants, or improper additives.
Safety and Quality Control
All raw herbs are tested for species authentication and the detection of sulfur dioxide, pesticide, heavy metal and other harmful substances. Each batch of herbs is awarded a certificate of analysis and lot number, so it can be traced.
Sun Ten’s medicinals are pharmaceutical grade, meaning there is no cross-contamination and they are safe for people with allergies. Raw herbs are decocted by cooking them in water. The decoction is then stabilized into a powder using non-GMO corn starch.
Consistency and Verification
The final products are tested for batch-to-batch consistency by constituent verification so that all batches of herbs have similar potency.
Other Herb Companies
Since the Chinese Materia Medica contains thousands of medicinal substances, not all herb companies carry them all. We choose certain herbs from different companies based on availability and a preference of taste, texture and desired potency. The other herb companies from which we order, including QualiHerb and Legendary Herbs, follow similar standards in sourcing, quality control and manufacturing.
Local Herb Sourcing
The growing of medicinal-grade Chinese herbs in the US is on the rise, though still in small amounts. These products are not available in the convenient granular form that we sell, only raw. Some raw herb companies such as Chicago’s Inner Ecology source as many of their herbs from local farmers as they can. Some herbs come from as close as Wisconsin, while others from the East or West Coast. Still, most herbs are only available from Mainland China and Eastern Asia where the growing climate is just right.
Our mission to provide high-quality holistic healthcare includes offering high-quality herbal products. The safety and purity of our herbs are our top priority, and we never dispense endangered plant or animal products. We appreciate your trust and are always open to answering your questions!