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Bill Brevoort, Chinese Herb Pioneer, Dies at 75

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Iconic Chinese medicinal herb pioneer Bill Brevoort, 75, passed away at his home in Kona, HI on July 28. He had been recently diagnosed with metastatic melanoma.

Brevoort was a truly remarkable man — intelligent, intrepid, focused and highly spiritual, as noted by the American Botanical Council (ABC).

He and his wife Peggy Brevoort founded East Earth Herb in 1971, the first company to educate and market to the natural food community about the healing and vitality-empowering aspects of traditional Chinese herbs.

The East Earth Herb booth was a popular location at many natural food trade shows and alternative medicine conferences in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, where Bill Brevoort would often listen to a person’s pulse, look at their tongue, and frequently perk them up with one of his special blends of Chinese herbal tonic elixirs, teas and other creatively blended formulations. East Earth’s “Dragon Eggs” line of Chinese herbs was most likely the first American-made line of Chinese herbal formulas.

The Brevoorts are also largely credited with creating the initial interest in the Pacific herb kava with their popular after-conference kava parties in the 1990s.

A practicing Buddhist most of his adult life,  he was also an avid amateur astronomer and dedicated vegetable gardener.

ABC Founder and Executive Director Mark Blumenthal recalled his 43-year relationship with Brevoort: “Bill was a truly amazing, brilliant, spiritual, one-of-a kind man. He and Peggy are true pioneers of the American herb movement, particularly with respect to Chinese herbs, having imported and distributed Chinese herbal patent medicines in the early 1970s and later their own Chinese herbal dietary supplements. They were one of my first suppliers when I owned Sweethardt Herbs (1974-1986), my former herb wholesaling company in Austin, TX. When I first started ordering from them, they were living in Reedsport, OR, and I had to call them on a ship-to-shore radiophone line to order Chinese Ginseng Bee Secretion (which Bill probably received by ‘submarine’ from Vancouver; FDA was not letting such products into the US in those days, except for sale in ethnic Chinese stores in San Francisco and a few other cities.) In addition to introducing me to many Chinese herbs and kava, Bill is also my first introduction to the fabled Chinese Pu-erh tea.”

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