Research and Development (R&D)
The ETHA Research and Development (R&D) team never stops working on new concepts, products and projects. Our tireless pursuit for superior quality is one of the crucial characteristics that sets ETHA apart. We continue to go beyond basic standards and minimum requirements to be the very best kratom manufacturer. One way our R&D team helps ETHA solidify its credibility is through emphasis on both in-house and outside independent third-party lab testing of all harvests coming into our US facilities. A lot of companies simply rely on one single outside lab to provide them with test results. On the contrary, we supplement these results with our own research and extensive in-house ETHA lab testing. Such comprehensive lab testing not only serves as a guarantee for ensuring accuracy of results, but allows ETHA to make a contribution to the kratom science field as a whole.
As a result of our Research and Development (R&D) team’s in depth testing and research, ETHA customers derive significant benefits. They reap benefits of cutting edge, leading products, and research-tested answers to frequently asked questions.
One such common and frequently asked question was answered after conducting our kratom tea research. We learned that when making tea, the hot water will not extract all the alkaloids out of the kratom leaves. But adding lemon juice does help extract some additional alkaloids out of the kratom.
Our Research and Development (R&D) team understands that laboratory testing performed with proper equipment is very important for shedding light on your medicinal plants. 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, such as how it is harvested, processed, where it is stored, and how long it sits on shelves are also important to consider. These factors can impact how the plant develops, matures, reproduces, and what happens at the molecular level to the bio-active 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.
The Savvy Consumer
Tirelessly, we highlight the importance of lab testing, and are happy to see more vendors touting the fact that they lab test their botanical products. It is good to see the botanical industry incorporating more testing and recognizing its importance. However, the quality, consistency, and frequency of such testing drastically varies from vendor to vendor.
Unfortunately, some vendors have even been exposed for providing false test results. And even copy/pasting other test results and applying them to their own products. As part of our efforts to bring superior quality, we put much emphasis on educating our customers. Additionally, training them to become savvy consumers.
How can you, as the consumer, determine which test results are real? Moreover, even if you know that a result is real, how can you determine the quality of a particular test? And whether a vendor is testing correctly? Here are some things to consider when looking at a lab test:
Spot the “Red Flags”
- Each test is like a fingerprint: 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.
- Date of test: just like our check-ups, blood work and exams, lab tests MUST be current to be valid. Throughout the course of our recent field research, we happened upon in-stock product from a reputable company on the shelves in a local store, with lab test dates over a year old! This is absolutely NOT acceptable.
- Size of the batch/harvest being tested? If a vendor is applying a single test result to hundreds of 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 the 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.
- Experience of the particular lab and whether they can identify the botanical and its molecular composition is important. Make sure to ask if the lab has a stable sample for reference and individual reference samples of the measured alkaloids.
- Quality testing machines used? Are they using a Liquid chromatography–mass spectrometry (LC-MS) machine? Our team recently invested in a Super Critical, High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) machine to expand our in-house lab tests and analysis.
- Compliance with Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA): make sure that if a vendor claims compliance with the KCPA they actually label their packaging appropriately with all the requirements as specifically mandated by the KCPA. Same goes for vendors who say they are American Kratom Association (AKA) approved, make sure they are actually AKA approved.
“Lab Tested” vs. Lab Tested
As mentioned above, many companies now claim to “lab test” their products. We want to make you aware of what that actually means. It is important to note that for many companies, “lab-tested” means testing for biological contaminants and NOT efficacy. While this is better than nothing, it is definitely the minimum standard, a relatively inexpensive test, and does not really paint the full picture, since you are testing a small sample of a huge batch. At ETHA we do things differently since we ultra high-heat pasteurize the whole batch each and every time to prevent any such contamination.
At ETHA Labs, we use well-established laboratory procedures to test our botanicals. We use solvent-extraction and purification techniques to analyze bulk plant alkaloids. We also partner with 3rd-party, independent testing laboratories to provide confidence and transparency in your botanical analysis. Our partner labs specialize in kratom analysis and help us to identify adulterants and heavy metals (lead) to ensure your kratom is safe. These labs utilize HPLC to analyze our botanicals. Testing done internally at ETHA Labs as well as through third-party, independent labs means you can trust ETHA kratom.