Keep Your Eyes Open Concerning Herbal Marketing

Besides talking about specific herbs we are growing and blending through Herban, I find that most of the time I am writing about the marketing aspect of herbs and supplements.  In a culture where words can mean whatever the sales person wants them to mean, it is important to be informed and educated on what you purchase.  In some instances you  may just find yourself out of money or left with a faulty product, but with purchasing supplements you also add a risk to your bodily health (and your family’s if you choose so).  There also seems to be a ‘group mentality’ when it comes to health-related ventures now that turn into ignorant cliques that can drag bad information for miles before someone educated comes along and clears the air.  Unfortunately in these situations the group-think may be so strong that relationships and peace are destroyed with the revelation of truth.  It is a messy business to keep relationships when others rely on false facts and choose those over a friendship.   (Do I sound like I have personally felt this?… *ahem*)

So in the news recently Dr. Oz has been sued for encouraging faulty products with false advertising.  I really have no information on Dr. Oz so I don’t want this to be an opinion of his character or knowledge.  I know his daughter is on The Chew, a show I enjoy, but that is about it.    The big point I got from the article was this—-

“Dr. Oz, for his part, noted that he is not paid to recommend the products, he does not sell them, and he does not advocate their long-term use.

But consumers say that’s not good enough, because they claim at least some of the people who have been guests on his show have hidden their ties to the companies they promote. They’re not the only ones upset about the practice. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has also been involved.”

(Full article here)

It’s been open knowledge that if you sell a product and claim any type of health-aid that does not happen or does hurt you are open to a lawsuit.  It actually happens a lot.  But to have a lawsuit filed against you for simply entertaining the ideas of these supplements and hosting the sales people/owners of these companies seems new to me.  (If it is not, let me know.)  So at some point being associated and a ‘known name’ can get you in trouble legally.  More reason than ever to stay away from the marketed trends and stick to what information is proven out there when discussing supplements as a professional.

This is the Washington Post article about the ‘green coffee extract’ and how it was sold as a weight loss product on the show.  Apparently the ‘naturopathic doctor’ (which is not a doctor in the medical sense, but in the naturopathic educational sense, similar to ‘doctor of literature’ or ‘doctor of psychology’.) is now involved in a 9 million dollar settlement for ‘manipulating the Oz show’ as simply a marketer for a faulty product.

In the end did most people just loose money and time?  Maybe they ended up stressing more about their health/weight/vitality (enter the epidemic of American disordered eating) with no real results.  Maybe they hocked the product themselves and passed on bad knowledge for months.  Or maybe they got sick.  Maybe it caused their medications not to work.  Maybe they ended up in the hospital.  (Please be careful with ‘extracts’ as many are highly concentrated!!)

And again, in the end, do your research, educate yourself– and talk to other educated professionals and get their opinions as well. An educated consumer keeps professionals (and sales people) in check. Have a great day!