Sulfur is essential to all life and is prevalent in the human body. However, 5 to 10 percent of North Americans are allergic to sulfites, which are relatives of sulfur. Sulfites are used as preservatives, most commonly in wine, beer, restaurant salad bars, frozen foods, dried fruits, and certain fresh fruits and vegetables. Sulfites can trigger asthma, hives, various allergic reactions, stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and even seizures. Hence the growing concern about sulfites in Chinese herbs.
Growing demand for Chinese herbs has necessitated using sulfur dioxide to increase storage life for meeting storage and shipping needs. It possesses these preservative properties:
But the road to hell is paved with good intentions!
When sulfured herbs are used to prepare soups, teas, extracts or supplements, sulfites become concentrated in the end product. Further, sulfur can also affect an herb's original energetic nature--and even the effectiveness of a given formula. At worst, sulfured herbs can be detrimental to human health. There is no guarantee that Chinese herbs are free of sulfites unless you order them through a processor or distributor who manages complete quality control before and after they are imported into the U.S.
Mountain Rose Herbs ensures such purity through its own facilities, processing operations and suppliers, and has continually guaranteed a sulfite free product. Our growers and suppliers of Chinese herbs maintain such immaculate facilities that they are certified by the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration. Its standards surpass those of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and they are considered the highest for any government agency in the world. Our Chinese herbs are generally darker in color, as sulfites cause herbs to appear lighter, and In addition to this, herbs treated with any level of sulfur are incredibly easy to determine based on taste alone. Typically a treated botanical will exhibit a flavor which is sour, tart, and moderately salty; and the line of Chinese herbs stocked by Mountain Rose Herbs lack these detectable flavors synonymous with treated materials.
At Mountain Rose Herbs, we insist on providing herbs completely free of these harmful preservatives because of the concern surrounding harmful side effects, and the negative impact it plays on a products quality. In addition to concerns surrounding the health of our customers, me must also take into consideration the debilitating effects Sulfite treatments presents to workers and handlers of the raw material. Workers administering the herb preservation process with sulfur dioxide inhale the fumes, which can burn the lungs, and this can result in immediate or delayed respiratory failure or death.
Further, sulfur dioxide is a significant environmental pollutant and is a primary component of acid rain. It is also one of four main pollutants responsible for global warming, or climate change, arguably the largest environmental threat facing life on Earth. It creates harmful ground-level ozone, which is particularly dangerous for children, the elderly and asthmatics. Although 75 percent of all sulfur dioxide emissions in the U.S. are caused by electronic utilities, we would like to do our part! The line of Chinese herbs offered at Mountain Rose Herbs are healthy for you, healthy for the workers, healthy for the Earth, and are guaranteed sulfite free.