Purchasing Chinese Herbs: Ensuring Value, Efficacy and Safety.
Elsewhere on this site you can read about HealthPoint’s commitment to the safety and efficacy of the traditional Chinese herbal formulas that we prescribe for our patients where clinically indicated.

Economic value includes not only the price paid at the point of purchase, but also measures of convenience, utility, results, and the long-term expense of use. These are the things that most of us desire with any economic exchange (i.e., when we purchase goods or services).

So what does any of this have to do with purchasing Chinese herbal medicines? The price that you pay for Chinese herbs can vary among clinics. And while purchase price is not unimportant, it is nowhere near as important a measure as value. And what good is economic value absent some assurance of safety?
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Chinese herbal medicinals can be processed, sold, and administered in a variety of formats including bulk-dispensed herbs for decoction, tea-pills, capsules, tinctures, and powdered extracts, to name several. We offer a wide range of prepared product (tablets, capsules, caplets, pills).  With one of the most varied TCM herbal pharmacies in the Twin Cities, HealthPoint carries all of these in order to meet the wants and needs of our many patients. We also try very hard to be sensitive to patient’s budgets in light of the generally high cost of health care.

When considering Chinese herbal medicinal formulas the first rule is to purchase from a trained, knowledgeable, competent and ethical licensed acupuncturist (L.Ac.), one with a degree in Oriental Medicine (not just acupuncture). This assures that you are under the care, guidance and monitoring of someone with specific and extensive academic training and competence in the clinical application of traditional Chinese medicinal substances and formulas. 

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Pricing is another consideration. Keep in mind that pricing can vary for a host of reasons, reflecting differences in type (e.g., bulk herbs vs. tea-pills vs. capsules), concentration (potency), dose and supply quantity. Bulk herbs are increasingly more expensive, reflecting increased labor and regulatory costs in China, as well as higher shipping costs. (Bulk herbs are, well, "bulky," and they tend to weight more). We always buy organic or the highest grade that we can find. Although this emphasis on purity, safety, and quality typically means slightly more expense, it means we feel confident and comfortable about the herbs and formulas that we recommend to our patients for internal consumption.

Dosing (number of pills and frequency per day) varies mainly according to potency, but also according to patient age, size and health status. Some of these factors can greatly influence pricing differences between and among various brands of the same formula. Often the lowest price for an herbal formula is, in fact, the costliest item when dosing and potency are factored in. Similarly, the seemingly very high price for a large quantity bottle of a given formula may actually be the least expensive when one calculates the per unit or daily dosing cost of the item. At least one of our suppliers offers two different product lines where the the exact same formula differs only by type (caplet vs. capsule), potency and quantity, but where the ingredients are otherwise exactly the same. As you might expect, the higher potency version is more expensive. We are always available to answer whatever questions you may have and to sort through any confusion.

Safety  and efficacy are very important considerations that we take extremely seriously at HealthPoint. In fact, we will never recommend or sell an herbal medicinal or herbal formula that we know to be unsafe or even suspect may for any reason be unsafe. Keep in mind that "safe" here also pertains to the given individual. What may be clinically safe and effective for one person may cause problems for someone else. This is why we at HealthPoint almost never sell herbal medicinals or formulas to walk-in patients without requiring, at a minimum, that they sit for at least a brief herbal consult and provide us with their contact information. We are responsible for the health effects of what we sell to individuals. We have ongoing relationships with many of our patients. But we want to be able to monitor and/or follow-up with anyone who has been under our care, no matter how briefly. Again, we take these responsibilities seriously. For the same reason, we do not sell product through our website or over-the-phone. It is critical that we have the opportunity to assess and examine the patient.

We always welcome your questions about Chinese herbal medicinals:  952-767-4910.

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