A brand of herbal products we use a lot of in the clinic is MediHerb. For a company who has gone on to become Australia’s largest purchaser and manufacturer of herbal medicines for the professional market, one would not think that they started out with humble beginnings in a converted goat’s shed.
Kerry Bone, the founder of MediHerb says that in the late 1980′s legislation changed and “we were inspected by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods of Administration) and were expected to manufacture our herbal products to the same standards as drugs companies. It placed huge demands on us, but it was an opportunity as well. Some of our competitors didn’t make it because of the pressure, so once the legislation came through, our industry started to grow and we reaped the benefits.”
MediHerb has strict standards for herb selection, and currently works with growers and producers all over the world. Many of the herbs are still wild harvested traditionally from countries like China and Eastern Europe.
Kerry says, “Our herbs must contain a certain level of a compound, or a plant chemical, that seems to be a marker of quality. If that standard has been met then we buy that herb, but if it hasn’t, then we don’t.“
MediHerb also has a strict policy with endangered species. “We work with intermediaries when it comes to threatened species, so if an area is being cleared for a new dam or road, for example, our intermediary will get the rights to go in and wild harvest the herbs in that area. There is no additional impact on the environment because that area was going to be cleared anyway.”
MediHerb is heavily involved in herbal research. For example, for the past decade, MediHerb has been looking closely at Echinacea, specifically what makes the herb work and which part of the plant works best. “We’ve determined that the alkylamides in Echinacea appear to be what make it work by interacting with certain immune receptors and they are the richest in the root, so all our work focuses on the root of Echinacea, whereas a lot of retail products are based around the aerial parts or leaves. In addition, there’s a myth that you only take Echinacea when you’re sick, but our research has shown the opposite – that if you take the root on a regular basis, it will prevent you from catching those winter infections.“
From little things, big things grow and we are very grateful to have such high-quality products available to boost our health and well being and yours.