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Herbalist Mitch Coven

“Herbs: Where the Heck Do They Come From?” with Master Herbalist Mitch Coven

This week in Student Club, we got a look behind the scenes at the supplements we use every day at our Wellness Way offices. If your experience has been like mine, when you talk about the Wellness Way to others, you might have received a complaint about how much the supplements cost.

“Why not just buy the same stuff for a cheaper price at the store?”

 Well, is it really the “same stuff”?? Let’s look into what we learned at this week’s club.

We Cut Out The Middle Man 

Many other supplement companies have the products change hands several times to the point where the person selling to the user has no idea the quality of the product they are even selling.

Our primary supplement provider, Vitality Works, contacts the farmers/growers directly and knows what they are buying, if it is a good, organic source, if it is the whole plant, if it was harvested at the correct time of year, and more. This goes for the products that are grown internationally as well.

We Make Sure it is Sustainable 

In the supplement farming world, there have been issues with limited resources of certain species and types of plants. Our provider takes these issues into consideration and is a leader in the community for activism in sustainable farming. They use techniques to ensure that they are not over-farming particular species of plants but leaving enough for the plants to regenerate and grow more for the next harvest.

Our provider looks into weather patterns and economic shifts to predict the ebb and flow of supplies and stock up if necessary. They also have contracts with many different providers to ensure we have enough supply at all times.

Quality is the #1 Priority 

Many of us know that certain plants can’t grow in certain climates, right? Well, certain plants that can be grown in many different places grow optimally in a specific climate/environment.

Our supplement provider knows this and carefully considers the details. Here are some examples:

Saw Palmetto – Saw Palmetto grows only in Florida but has to be harvested in a specific window of time during the Fall to get all the good medicinal constituents we want. We only use high-quality stuff from this specific harvest time. Other supplement companies can buy discounted versions at different times of year but they lack the essential parts of the plant that give it its potent, therapeutic effects.

Kava – The best quality product grows on a South Pacific Island our provider is in direct contact with.

Chaga – Chaga can be grown in many different environments and “farms,” but its most potent medicinal form grows in the wild on birch trees. When growing on the birch, this mushroom can pull some of the active constituents out and leave others that are unnecessary. We get ours from a trusted wild harvested source.

Fun fact: The DNA of medicinal mushrooms like Chaga is 85-95% closer to humans than plants!

Freshness and Sourcing Matter

Many cheaper alternatives out there are discounted products because they are years old and expired, lacking their therapeutic properties. We make sure ours are fresh and quality.

Additionally, you have to make sure you are using the correct parts of the plant for certain benefits you’re targeting – the flower of one plant may have a completely different effect than its roots. Discounted supplements are often not from the part of the plant that has the benefits they are marketing the product for.

West Test to Ensure Quality and Purity

We test our supplements when they come in from the farmers and ensure there were no heavy metals/contaminants in the soil or pesticides used on the plants.

The goal is to have all of our organic supplements grown in the United States; however, right now, there are certain ones that we can only get high quality forms from in other countries. We will never sacrifice quality for convenience!


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Disclaimer: This content is for educational purposes only. It’s not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your Wellness Way clinic or personal physician, especially if currently taking prescription or over-the-counter medications. Pregnant women, in particular, should seek the advice of a physician before trying any herb or supplement listed on this website. Always speak with your individual clinic before adding any medication, herb, or nutritional supplement to your health protocol. Information and statements regarding dietary supplements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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