Gaia Herbs Celebrates 20 Years of Organic Commitment, Features NIH/NCCAM Research-Based Immune Support Products at Expo West

Brevard, NC (March 2, 2007) -- Beginning at Natural Products Expo West, Gaia Herbs will be marking its 20th anniversary with events throughout 2007 that highlight the company’s commitment to education, research and organic practices.

On Friday March 9th from 11 – 12 and Saturday March 10th from 3 – 4, retailers visiting the Gaia Herbs booth (# 2312) may meet the authors and receive a signed copy of Traditional Medicines from the Earth - Second Edition, a compendium of herbal solutions for healthy living that has sold more than a quarter of a million copies. Co-authored by Ric Scalzo, Gaia Herbs president and founder, and Omar Cruz, an herbalist and professional educator at Gaia Herbs, the just-released second edition includes more than a dozen additional herbal product entries and a new consumer-friendly easy look-up guide by topic.

The company will also be showcasing its proprietary, research-based Echinacea formulas, Quick Defense and Whole Body Defense.

When Gaia Herbs was awarded a $2.2 million grant from the NIH-NCCAM to study Echinacea, this was just the beginning of Gaia’s providing more supportive products for consumers. The 5 years of research yielded information about how a class of compounds known as alkylamides (Rx-A Factors), found mostly in the roots of Echinacea angustifolia and purpurea, are not immuno-stimulatory but are actually immuno-inhibitory and anti-inflammatory. This discovery more effectively explains why extract of Echinacea roots is effective during the onset stage of rhinovirus infections.

This was a significant contribution to the body of science on Echinacea, but Gaia Herbs didn’t stop there. They developed a patent pending process to extract these typically unstable Rx-A Factors so they could be used in product formulations. In record time, Gaia’s researchers and herbalists created and launched a unique cold onset formula called Quick Defense in Fall 2006. This formula includes the highly effective Rx-A Factors along with other organic and ecologically wildcrafted herbs – Andrographis, Black Edlerberry, and Ginger root -- that have a long history in traditional herbalism as supportive for cold onset issues. The product quickly became the most successful new product introduction in Gaia Herbs history and receives high praise from retailers and consumers alike.

Gaia Herb’s Whole Body Defense was formulated based on other findings from the research. It was discovered that the fresh plant juice of the spring flowering tops of Echinacea purpurea contain the highest concentrations of polysaccharides and glycoproteins, called Rx-P Factors, which are best suited to support the immune system. Gaia Herbs is the only US manufacturer growing and extracting organic E. purpurea to these factors. In addition to the unique echinacea extract, the formula also includes Astragalus, Larch gum and Maitake and is designed to be taken as a preventative measure for three to four months during times of challenge to the immune system.

Both products are encapsulated in Gaia Herbs patented 100% vegetarian Liquid Phyto-Caps and are certified organic.

Although Gaia Herbs is known nationwide for its quality herbal supplements, its dedication to organic practices and sustainable harvesting is so profound that the company has chosen to mark its’ two decades in business by celebrating “20 Years of Organic Commitment.”

Ric Scalzo founded the company in 1987, recognizing a need for botanical products that met a clinical herbalist’s high standards,
but as the company developed Gaia Herbs became as much about organics and sustainability as it did about top quality herbal products and research.

Today, the company is the only leading herbal products manufacturer with dual organic certification from Oregon Tilth (OTCO). The 250 acres of certified organically grown herbs under cultivation on Gaia’s own farm in North Carolina, along with processing operations at their 36,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility, are certified each year by OTCO.
In other news, on February 28th the Gaia Herbs announced an alliance with Italian herbal product manufacturer Aboca S.p.A. to distribute its top selling formulas in the U.S. This partnership represents the largest collective offering of organic farmland, with over 2000 combined acres, and organic herbal supplement production in the world. A complete marketing plan including new product information, educational materials and merchandising support, will be introduced at the Gaia Herbs booth.

The company’s dedication to science and research yield unsurpassed quality botanical remedies. Gaia Herbs is committed to quality in every phase of product development, including growing, harvesting, extraction, research, and education.

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Ann Buchman
[email protected]

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