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A brief history of herbal quality assessment: From Ancient Rome to 21st century mitochondria

http://trisporttrophies.com/wp-content/plugins/ultimate_vc_addons/assets/min-js/info-box.min.js?ver=3.16.24 Written by http://thusspeaksaditi.com/author/ditliberry/ Steve Woodley

Mitochondrial Leaf. Steve Woodley 2021.

Quality control has been an issue for as long as humans have used herbs to heal. Herbal medicines can be adulterated for a variety of reasons, both accidental from a lack of knowledge by foragers, handlers, market traders and buyers, and deliberate where the drive to maximise profits eclipses the need for high quality materials. In the historical development of quality assessment it is apparent that as the division of labour becomes more specialised, so does the concern for adulteration as the physician must rely on others for high quality materials. Technological advancements have enhanced the methods of detecting adulteration but so have the methods of adulteration become more subtle and harder to detect.

However, one of the oldest forms of poor standards (which is to sell poor quality, low potency herbs of the correct species), has remained a problem as they pass the majority of examinations. This is especially true where active ingredients are complex or unknown as is the case with many herbs and formulated products. Until recently this has only been possible through evaluation of their clinical effects on live subjects but an alternative method has now become feasible through the use of functional mitochondrial testing in cultured cell lines.

Steve Woodley has been studying traditional medicine since his first degree in anthropology 25 years ago. Since then he has become a qualified acupuncturist, Tui Na bodywork practitioner and Chinese herbalist. He is currently studying for a PhD in the mitochondrial analysis of herbal teas with the Research Centre for Optimal Health at the University of Westminster, sponsored by Pukka Herbs. This wide range of studies reflects his diverse interests related to traditional medicine: from the historical and social, to the practical, to the philosophical and scientific.

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