Newsweek magazine.  Time magazine.  ABC TV 20/20.  British Medical JournalJournal of the American Medical Association.  It seems that everyone started to talk about the benefits of standardized herbs in the late 1990’s.


Ten years before that, hardly anyone in America knew or cared about the high level of quality and activity found in standardized herbal extracts.  One company knew, and cared, and did something about it.  That company was Yerba Prima, the first company to introduce a line of standardized herbs to the U.S. natural foods market.


To understand why Yerba Prima was the pioneer, it is helpful to know a little about the history of herbal medicine, as well as the history of Yerba Prima.  Herbal medicine was well established in the U.S. in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s.  Thousands of medical doctors used herbs with great success.


With the introduction of aspirin by Bayer in 1899 and other “wonder drugs” in subsequent years, these powerful drugs with quick onset of activity captured the imagination of the medical profession and the American people.


As is often the case in America, excitement led people to go to an extreme.  In this case, the extreme was thinking that the drugs and surgery approach would take care of all our ills.  Mothers stopped teaching their children about simple herbs that could help in minor health problems.  Medical schools stopped teaching the importance of nutrition for good health.


One of the most damaging acts was the publication of the Flexner Report in 1910, which gave poor ratings to medical schools that taught natural healing and herbal medicine.  There isn’t room to go into all of the politics of that report here.  However, the sad result was that within a few years medical schools that taught herbal medicine were driven out of business, and the medical schools that remained had no interest in herbs.  Generations of American doctors, and generations of American children, never learned how to use herbs.


Not until the 1970’s did fringe groups in the American public start to explore herbs for health care.  Not until the late 1990’s did American doctors become interested once again in the benefits of herbs.


In contrast, the European public and medical profession never completely lost touch with their herbal traditions as modern drugs were introduced.  Herbs continued to be recommended by doctors for mild conditions.  Herb teas and products were, and still are, widely available in pharmacies in many European countries.  European pharmaceutical manufacturing companies continued to do research, publish articles in medical journals and develop more dependable herbal products for doctors and the public all through the 20th Century.


This is where Yerba Prima comes in.  From the beginning, Yerba Prima management committed to making only high quality products backed by herbal tradition and clinical research.  Through our network of herbal and scientific advisors, Yerba Prima became aware of the standardized herb products and research in Europe.


Much of this research was published only in German, French or Italian language medical or medicinal plants journals.  One of the big events in the American herbal renaissance was the 1998 publication in English of the German Commission E herbal monographs.  This made a wealth of European herbal medicine knowledge available in English for the first time.  But Yerba Prima was already translating German Commission E monographs into English in the 1980’s as we developed our line of standardized herb products.


Yerba Prima did more than just read and translate.  Yerba Prima management traveled to Germany, France, Switzerland and England to meet with leading herb manufacturers and researchers.  When other American companies were simply grinding up dried herbs and selling them in capsules, Yerba Prima introduced pharmaceutical quality standardized herbal extracts, backed by Commission E monographs, based on both tradition and published medical research.


Yerba Prima’s first clinically proven European researched herbal product was Echinace®, the fresh pressed juice of blooming Echinacea purpurea.  That was followed by our high quality line of Extra Strength standardized herbs, containing clinically researched pharmaceutical quality herbal extracts.  These include popular herbs such as Ginkgo Extra Strength, Milk Thistle Extra Strength and Bilberry Extra Strength.  Yerba Prima continues to lead the way with high quality herbs that you can count on.