| Posted In - General

Live Oak Acupuncture & Wellness Center is supported in part by patients purchasing products (herbal medicines, dietary supplements, essential oils, etc.) from me. It is no exaggeration to say that I have invested hundreds of hours of time and tens of thousands of dollars into selecting the products that I recommend and sell to you. For each product that you see on my shelves, I have researched and tested dozens of others. I have spent over a decade pulling together the contents of my pharmacy and only carry the best quality, most effective products available. I do my best to maintain an inventory of these products so that they are available for purchase the very day you need them.

All of the herbal medicines, dietary supplements, and essential oils that we use come from companies with the highest manufacturing standards in the world. These companies follow stringent guidelines to ensure the highest quality product. The ingredients in Chinese herbal medicines are identified, tested and retested using TLC (Thin Layer Chromatography for proper herb species identification), microbial testing for potential harmful pathogens, Gas Chromatography (which tests for the presence of over 200 harmful pesticides, herbicides and fungicides), HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography, which tests for the correct concentrations of active medicinal ingredients), and ICP-MS (Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry, which tests for heavy metals).

For years I have been a loyal customer. But recently I have seen a troubling phenomenon occur within my practice (other small business people say that they experience the same thing): customers seek out the advice and assistance of local small businesses to choose products that they want to purchase, but then turn around and actually buy them from Amazon. In my office it happens like this: During an office visit, a patient and I spend 30-45 minutes discussing their health history and the specifics of their current health concern. I examine them and, based on nearly two decades of experience, make a Chinese medicine diagnosis. Using my expertise, I select from among literally hundreds of possible herbal formulas and identify the one that is most likely to exert a beneficial effect in that particular patient, given their history, constitution, lifestyle, other health problems, etc. Because Chinese herbal medicine is complicated and esoteric, this selection process is not something that a person without professional training can generally do on their own. The formula is in stock on my shelf, but the patient declines to purchase it. The next time I see them, they tell me that they have been taking the formula I recommended, that they found it really cheap on Amazon.

Now I understand that money doesn’t grow on trees and I’m all for bargain shopping. I love a great deal with free Prime shipping as much as anyone does. Fortunately my practice can survive without sales of herbal medicines. But it makes me very sad to think of the hundreds of small, local businesses that cannot and will not survive this trend. This article describes how Amazon’s ruthless business practices are literally crushing local economies. Personally I am going to start exerting a concerted effort to spend the extra time and money that is required to patronize locally-owned businesses and I’m even considering giving up my Amazon Prime membership.

But back to the favor I was going to ask of you — I would appreciate it if you would consider purchasing your herbal medicines, dietary supplements, and essential oils from me and not Amazon, even if that means spending a few dollars more. By doing so you are doing two things:

  1. Insuring your safety because all the products I carry come directly from the manufacturer and have been tested as free from heavy metals, pesticide residues, and/or unlabeled ingredients. This is not necessarily true of products purchased from Amazon — with the increasing numbers of third-party sellers there are more and more instances being documented of people receiving fraudulent, diluted, or otherwise tampered with products.
  2. Casting your vote for a small, locally owned, and personally run business versus the large, impersonal conglomerates that now surround us.