AHPA Reanalyzes ConsumerLab’s Valerian Study


The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) says that it has reanalyzed ConsumerLab.com’s November 10 valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) report, which AHPA criticized on November 23.

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA; Silver Spring, MD) says that it has reanalyzed ConsumerLab.com’s November 10 valerian root (Valeriana officinalis)report, which AHPA criticized on November 23.

The ConsumerLab study reported that only 22% of valerian root products it tested passed quality tests.In its initial critique, AHPA questioned ConsumerLab’s 0.17% valerenic acid testing threshold, which AHPA claimed was erroneously applied for all forms of valerian products, including those made from whole, dried valarien root and those made from dried valerian root in cut form.AHPA said that in cut form, valerian should adhere to a 0.10% valerenic acid testing standard-and that if this threshold had been applied, two additional products would have passed ConsumerLab’s testing.

In its response to AHPA, ConsumerLab stated, “The criteria used by ConsumerLab.com represents the total valerenic acids as the sum of three compounds…The 0.10% requirement…is based on the sum of only two compounds. Contrary to AHPA’s press release, calculating results based on these two compounds and using the lower minimum, the failed products still would not pass testing.”

Following ConsumerLab.com’s rebuttal, AHPA reanalyzed the report and said that its findings “reaffirm AHPA’s view that CL’s reliance on arbitrary criteria for measuring valerian products misrepresents the quality of some tested products.”

Moreover, AHPA says: “Two of the ‘not approved’ products do not make any claims as to the amount of valerenic acids in their products. CL nonetheless holds these to its own standard, which assumes that the level of valerenic acids in finished products should be 0.17% of the declared quantity of valerian root. This approach apparently applies the EP [European Pharmacopeia] standard for whole, dried valerian root, irresponsive of the form of the root used in each product. One of these ‘not approved’ products is made with fresh valerian root.”


Valerenic Acid: Not the Only Measure of Valerian Quality

“CL apparently relies on valerenic acids as the sole indicator of valerian quality, implying that the level of valerenic acids is the only factor that can be used to determine whether a valerian product has any benefit,” AHPA added.

For instance, AHPA says, one of the companies that ConsumerLab tested told AHPA that it intentionally includes broad spectrum of the naturally occurring compounds found in valerian root, believing that these compounds may also provide benefits.

Moreover, AHPA says, one of the companies that CL flagged as “not approved” is a clinically tested valerian-hops combination that AHPA says was clinically shown in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to provide significant sleep benefits with a single dose.

“While valerenic acids are useful markers for identifying a valerian ingredient, you can’t ‘test in the quality’ of a valerian product simply by measuring these compounds,” said Steven Dentali, PhD, AHPA’s chief science officer. “This narrow approach has in at least one case caused ConsumerLab to classify a product with proven efficacy as ‘not approved.’”

Read about ConsumerLab’s response to AHPA’s intial critique here.

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