Standardized Herbal Potencies
Sam Biser & Dr. Richard Schulze

SAM BISER: What are these herbal standardized potencies I see advertised in the stores and in magazines?
DR SCHULZE: This is the new fad of herbology, to standardize herbs and herbal products. They want to isolate the active ingredients in an herb and then make sure these chemicals never fluctuate.
SAM BISER: What’s wrong with that? At least you’re sure of getting enough of the active ingredients you want!
DR SCHULZE: They are turning herbs into DRUGS.
   Many companies today, especially the biggest ones, want to isolate the so-called active ingredient and concentrate that. This is exactly what a drug is, why drugs have side effects — and why we don’t use them.
   Today’s herbal manufacturers are heading down the same path of doom from earlier this century. After all, Parke Davis, Eli Lilly and most all drug companies that are around today, were also around 100 years ago, and they were all herbal product companies back then.
   These modern herbal companies have forgotten the wisdom of using the WHOLE herb without altering it.
   They have no idea the DAMAGE they are doing by extracting or concentrating one or two particular chemicals — and then filtering the “inert” material or residue out, tossing it down the drain. They pump up one chemical and filter out 25 others.
SAM BISER: So filtering can even be bad?
DR SCHULZE: Exactly. How do you know that what you are filtering out is unimportant? You don’t.
   I filtered my extracts only through crude cotton towels. They came out with residue and solids left in them. These residues and solids have many healing chemicals and resins in them. They are part of the healing plant chemistry, too.
   Modern manufacturing wants herbal products to have low residues, to look clean like filtered apple juice. Most products are filtered through such fine micron mesh filters that they even take the color out. I know that even the chemicals that color the plant are part of its healing power — like beta carotene and chlorophyll.
   One lab tech at a gigantic herbal company bragged to me by saying that they had such incredibly efficient filtering machinery that they could actually filter an herbal extract back into water. I tasted their products and they did taste like herbal “water.”
SAM BISER: But doesn’t concentrating active ingredients make the Herbal Products more effective?
DR SCHULZE: No, just more dangerous, more unnatural. This type of herbal product is actually a crude drug. This is the medical approach: make unnatural, concentrated isolated, standardized potency, “nuclear bomb” herbal drugs.
   Also, who decides which chemicals in the plant should be isolated or standardized? Plants contain thousands of different chemical structures. Lobelia, for instance, contains hundreds of chemical compounds. It has 14 different alkaloids alone.
   These alkaloids have very different actions and their effectiveness is dosage related. Some of the chemicals in Lobelia enhance breathing; others dilate the bronchials, are antispasmodic, emetic, nerve stimulants, and so on.
   Lobelia is a classic example of why herbs are wholistic. The various chemicals in Lobelia can effect you in a multitude of ways, depending on what type of illness, or what biochemical need you have.
   Which one of these chemicals should we consider the active ingredient? Lobelia inflata, this tiny little violet fragile plant with its complex array of chemicals, humbles us. This plant alone should illuminate the folly of fooling around with a plant’s subtle chemical balance.
SAM BISER: But what is wrong with standardizing an herb, so it does not vary from season to season?
DR SCHULZE: As the seasons change, so does the chemical content of herbs. This is not something bad. This is for our benefit.
   A chemical that is prominent in an herb in the spring may be non-existent in the fall.
   These chemical changes help our bodies to adjust to the seasonal changes; they tell us when it is time to detoxify, when it is time to thin our blood, or when it is time to build up for winter.
   This is what Dr. John Christopher meant by “Live under your own fig tree.”
SAM BISER: Can you give me an example?
DR SCHULZE: Certainly. Traditionally, many herbs were used as spring tonics. These particular herbs detoxify and actually thin your blood and lymphatic fluid. Red clover is one of these herbs. It contains chemicals, coumarins, that thin the viscosity of your blood. The chemicals are present in the red clover flower, but dry up rapidly at the first sign of winter — and the chemicals disappear.
   Is that bad? NO. Nature wants us to thin our blood in the spring, not in the winter. Before winter, Nature wants us to eat root herbs like dandelion root, to build up our blood for the cold season ahead. If we were to standardize these herbs and make the chemicals consistent all year long, we would defeat nature, not let it help us.
   To isolate the “active ingredient” ignores all the OTHER ingredients that make an herb work. To make each drop of extract or herbal tablet, from month to month, year to year, any season, have the same exact amount of a particular chemical, is totally against the laws of nature. IT IS UNNATURAL. It is like trying to keep summer all year long.
   I NEVER saw standardized herbs give the miracle cures that my so-called “crude” extracts did.

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