Are herbal supplements formulated by herbalists?

Very few herbal supplements marketed and sold by health food stores and sales companies are formulated by qualified medical or traditional herbalists. Most companies hire biologists, chemists and nutritionists or even PhDs to do the job.

Many products are formulated by PhDs (Doctors of Philosophy) and chemists with little or no clinical training and experiences (i.e they don’t see patients; is arm chair analysis). Products are usually formulated based on market demand, cost of materials and marketing appeal. You may find products with litany of herbs (sometimes more than 20) put together to impress the consumer. Ask any properly trained herbalist and it will be considered a joke. I came across a product with a liver herb as the main ingredient. The instruction written is to take it after meal. But we all know that the herb should be taken before bed for effectiveness.

The formulas concocted by traditional herbalists proceed from a different model. For example in formulating the herbal tea Phytocel, I need to take into consideration the action of the herbs (example the organs’ affinities), energies of the herbs (is it too cooling, warming or hot), the synergies of the herb actions, the nutritional content etc.

Health issues are manifestations of imbalance in body, mind and spirit. The underlying cause need to be addressed and herbs need to be taken in a holistic context. Unfortunately majority of people want a quick fix. They don’t want to address the underlying problem.

Many people asked me which herbal supplement is good for headache or sleep or… but the correct question should be – how can I treat and prevent this condition?


About Sebastian Liew

Matthew Wood, the renowned American herbalist described Sebastian as ‘one of the most unique and talented practitioners of natural healing and herbalism.’ The New Paper (Singapore) called Sebastian Liew 'The Medicine Man'. Indeed, Sebastian is a qualified and registered Medical Herbalist (accredited by the National Herbalists Association of Australia), with a Master's degree in Herbal Medicine from the University of New England, Australia. He is the first medical herbalist in Singapore and is known to popularize phytotherapy (Western herbal medicine), European traditional medicine, and St Hildegard medicine (Germany) in Singapore and probably in Asia. Sebastian has 20 years clinical work experiences and treated numerous patients with different medical conditions from all age groups in his Singapore clinic. Sebastian authored the book, Leaf to Life: The Natural Approach to Slow Down Aging and Living a Healing Life, which set the fundamentals for healthy aging and the prevention or treatment for almost all diseases. Please visit website
This entry was posted in Naturopathy, Phytotherapy. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s