Are All Kratom Lab Tests The Same?
Why Lab Test?
When you are considering botanicals and other medicinal plants as part of your health plan, it is important to know what exactly is in your products. Plant morphology can vary tremendously based on environmental factors such as: soil conditions, amount of sunlight, frequency of available water, natural fertilization, pollution levels, and even what is living within the plant. Any human contact and interaction with the plant will also impact the plant.
Additional factors important to consider: how to harvest, process, where to store, and how long it sits on shelves. These factors can impact how the plant develops, matures, reproduces, and what happens at the molecular level to the bioactive alkaloids. These differences can be very subtle and even invisible to the eye, but can be extremely important to the effectiveness and safety of your botanical products. This is why laboratory testing performed with proper equipment is very important for shedding light on your medicinal plants.
Are All Lab Tests the Same?
Recently, more vendors have touted the fact that they lab test their botanical products, and while it is good to see the botanical industry incorporating more testing and recognizing its importance, the quality, consistency, and frequency of such testing drastically varies from vendor to vendor. Some vendors have even been exposed for providing false test results and copy/pasting other test results and applying them to their own products. So how can you, as the consumer, determine when test results are real?
Moreover, even if you know that a result is real, how can you determine the quality of a test and whether a vendor is testing correctly? Here are some things to consider when looking at lab test:
- No two tests should be identical. Do NOT just look at the lot/batch/harvest number and the mitragynine percentage results. These numbers and percentages are easy to change with counterfeits. Look at the graph itself and the details of the results. All of it must be different for each test. Even testing from the same exact batch will have some visible differences.
- What is the size of the batch/harvest being tested? If a vendor is applying a single test result to a hundred kilos of kratom or more, that is a problem.
- How many samples are taken from the batch/harvest to test? For the results to be validated, multiple tests should be done for this same batch.
- When are the test samples collected and sent to the lab? Some suppliers will do testing on their botanicals before they ship to a vendor. Although this is good, there are contamination problems and other issues that can occur after a supplier performs its testing. The handling of a botanical from storage to shipment to repackaging can create multiple contamination issues. The testing must be done at the end of the transportation process, once the botanicals have arrived at their final destination.
- Does the particular lab have experience with, and can this lab identify the botanical and its molecular composition? Make sure to ask if the lab has a stable sample for reference.
- Is the lab using quality testing machines? Are they using a Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) machine?
Not All Lab Procedures Are Created Equally
At ETHA Labs, we use well-established laboratory procedures to test our botanicals. Our testing is done when our kratom arrives at our USA-based facility. We take multiple samples from the same harvest to validate the results. Each and every strain from each small-batch harvest gets its own set of testing. We use solvent-extraction and purification techniques to analyze bulk plant alkaloids. We also partner with 3rd-party, independent laboratories to provide confidence and transparency in your botanical analysis.
Our partner labs specialize in botanicals like kratom and help us to identify adulterants and heavy metals (lead) to ensure the safety of your botanicals. These labs utilize High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to analyze our botanicals.
We individually label each bag we sell with the results of that bag’s lab tests. You can also find online the test results from our independent, 3rd-party lab partners. ETHA believes in being open and transparent when it comes to doing business and engaging with its customers. We understand that there are many concerns when it comes to using botanicals and we will do our part to be transparent about the research and testing we do.
Testing done internally through ETHA Labs and through independent, third-party labs, and results labeled on each bag and made available online, means you can trust ETHA Natural Botanicals.
Beyond Testing. The Importance of Quality and Treatment Procedures.
Laboratory testing is critical to the distribution and the sale of botanicals. It is equally important for vendors to have procedures to treat its botanicals for possible contamination. Testing for salmonella and e.coli are NOT going to guarantee that a batch of kratom is clean. Harmful pathogens can be very localized. Therefore, if you are taking a single, small sample from your batch, it can come up negative in your lab test for salmonella. Yet, the batch may in fact be contaminated.
That is why every botanical vendor should have precise procedures to receive botanicals, handle, store, and package them for sale. These procedures should follow Good Manufacturing Procedures (GMP). Beyond GMP, the vendor needs to also include steps to treat their botanicals for potential contaminants. These treatment procedures occur at the source and also at the end of the supply chain right before you package the botanical for sale.
The ETHA Difference
At ETHA Natural Botanicals, we have developed the standards for botanical GMP procedures. We also do high temperature pasteurization during the drying process. Thereafter, we filter our botanicals for retail powder and press them into tablets. Double ultra-high temperature pasteurization treatment in a USA-based GMP facility means ETHA can ensure you are getting the safest botanicals on the market while retaining beneficial alkaloids.
If you are a vendor who needs assistance with the quality and safety of your botanicals or would like to get your botanicals like kratom directly from ETHA, learn more or reach out to us – firstname.lastname@example.org