Members of AHPA include foreign and domestic companies doing business as manufacturers, processors and marketers of herbal related products. It has over 900 members. A number of well-known companies such as Garden of Life, Ecover Inc., and Nature’s Garden, Inc. are on the board of directors of the American Herbal Product Association.
The primary goal of the Association is “to promote and advance the interests of manufacturers and consumers of herbal products”. It does this by promoting the use of botanicals in herbal products, educating the public about botanicals and their benefits, and testing and approving botanical products. It also publishes a magazine, the “Herbal Business Directory”, and conducts national conventions to share information and promote the use of botanicals. The Herbal Product Association sets quality standards for manufacturers and holds conferences to share information and strategies about the manufacture of botanical products.
The Botanical And Herbal Product
The botanical and herbal product industry is a $2.7 billion dollar industry in the United States. The demand for botanicals and herbal products is increasing every year, and many new botanicals are being introduced into the market each year as well. As a result, many herbal products companies have gone out of business in the past few years. Many other companies have tried to fill the void left by discontinued companies, but they have not been able to take the place of the established and large companies that produce excellent quality products. This is one of the reasons that consumers have turned to the internet to buy their dietary supplement.
Many companies now sell herbal products that have passed through the FDA’s quality control measures and are available for purchase under the name of “gourmet” or “herbal.” There are websites that have been established specifically to carry these dietary supplements. These sites have an added incentive for sellers they often offer discounts to the consumer when purchasing a product from them. The reduced rate can be as much as 10% of the product price. The “gourmet” or “herbal” labeling may not be in your face, but the quality of the botanical ingredients can be checked and compared with the quality standards required by law.
Regulated Levels Of Nutrients
According to the law, dietary supplements and botanical extracts are allowed to contain regulated levels of nutrients, but the FDA does not regulate nutrient levels or provide any guarantee concerning safety or purity. In order to facilitate informed access to botanical extracts and dietary supplements, several organizations have been formed to increase consumer awareness of the safe herbal goods and provide independent verification of the suppliers’ claims. They are The Association of Personalized Health Care Professionals (APHP), the Council for Herbology (CHMP), and the National Herbal Supplement Safety Association (NHSSA).
The Association of Personalized Health Care Professionals is the trade group that represents and develops standards for dietary supplements and makes recommendations for product quality and safety. Its web site includes information about the various members of the association and lists their contact information. At the CHMP, which is responsible for the certification of botanical extracts, there are a variety of tests for both botanicals and other ingredients.
The National Herbal Supplement Safety Association
The Goldenseal test is the most commonly performed and the Goldenseal website mentions the test frequently among the many tests conducted by the CHMP. According to the CHMP, the only way to ensure the effectiveness and safety of dietary supplements is to follow the guidelines set forth by the association.
The National Herbal Supplement Safety Association (NHSA) provides a database of evaluated dietary supplements on the internet. The database includes not only the results of scientific studies but also the results of botanicals and other ingredients. This service is offered by several organizations and is free of charge. According to the NHSA, its mission is “to provide consumers with reliable and complete information on dietary supplements and related products.”
In short, the natural health industry has responded to the consumer’s calls for safer and more informed access to botanical extracts through increased regulation and awareness campaigns. According to experts in the herbal product industry, the changes noted above will not likely have any significant long-term impact on sales. However, with the increased awareness of consumers, who seek safer and more effective ways to address their health care needs, the ability for buyers to easily determine which products pose the least risk will likely improve.