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How the Environment Can Affect Chinese Medicinal Herb Compounds


The wonderful thing about natural medicine, like herbs and spices, is that you can often grow them at home. They are plants after all, right? For most basic medicinal herbs, like chamomile, basil, and mint, this is true. You can very well make tea from the mint in your home garden and it can be as potent (or even more so) than the one you purchase in sachets in the grocery store.

However, it is important to know that this may not be true for less common or specialized herbs, especially Chinese herbs. Certain plants thrive in certain ecosystems; some temperate, some tropical, others subtropical, and so on. This is why there are plants native to certain areas, that simply do not thrive in environments aside from their native one.

There are many factors that can affect the possibility of Chinese medicinal herbs to be grown outside of certain parts of China or Asia. These include:

  • Temperature: some herbs thrive in tropical weather, while others do best in cold temperatures (and actually do best with periods of frost, like chives)
  • Soil quality: some herbs need more acidic soil, while others may need more basic soil.
  • Light: How many hours a day will the herb receive light? Some herbs grow best in very sunny environments, while others grow best in darker, more humid environments
  • Nutrients in the soil: There are several nutrients (minerals) that plants need to stay healthy, though every herb may require a slightly different proportion of those nutrients.
  • Rainfall: How often does is normally rainin the native environment of the plant? This will affect its ability to survive in non-native environments where the frequency of rain is unlike that from which it originally came.
  • Humidity: Some parts of the world, particularly the tropics, are much more humidthan other parts of the world. If a Chinese herb is native to the humid southern part of the country, it will likely not do too well in the dry environment of the US Southwest.

While scientists have experimented with the viability of artificial fostering of Chinese herbs to mimic the environments they are originally from, they admit that there are no modes that can solve all of the problems related to herbal production. It is important to know where the ingredients of your supplement come from to ensure you are getting the highest quality. Chinese herbs, while most can be grown in the US, will likely have different nutritional and phytonutrient composition than if grown in their natural environment.

At Balance Blends, we take all of this into account. We take sourcing seriously and make sure that all of our ingredients are of the highest quality, grown in the environment they were meant to thrive in.

Want to learn more about Balance Blends TCM-based herbal supplements? Check out our collection here


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