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Wilson Lau, Vice President, Nuherbs

Wilson Lau headshot Wilson Lau headshot

14722 Wicks Blvd.
San Leandro, CA 94577
Phone: (800) 233-4307

Non-GMO Project

Nuherbs, founded in 1979 and the largest TCM (tradition Chinese medicine) supplier in North America, supplies pharmacopeia-grade, geo-authentic, conventional and organic Chinese herbs. Herbal identity of every ingredient is confirmed macroscopically and chemically, when there is a method provided in the Chinese Pharmacopeia. Each lot of every herb is tested for pesticide residues, heavy metals, micro bacteria and other quality indices. The company’s emphasis on quality begins at the farms from which it sources, extends to comprehensive testing and proper processing of each herb, and careful storage of the botanicals in Nuherbs’ California warehouse. The company also offers ultra-custom Nuherbs Bespoke Extracts. Nuherbs’ comprehensive array of practitioner supplies includes the Superior Trading line.

Wilson Lau is the third generation of his family to lead Nuherbs. He has a BA in economics and geography from Macalester College and a law degree from Santa Clara University School of Law. He is a member of the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) Board of Trustees, and has held various leadership roles within that organization. Lau also participates in botanical sustainability initiatives in China.

NIE: Nuherbs is a third generation family business. How is the company carrying on the vision of its founder, Dr. Bing Yon Lee?

Lau: I am the third generation of my family in this business. In 1935, my grandmother Dr. Bing Yin Lee became one of the first female graduates from the Chinese Medical Institute of Shanghai. Dr. Lee brought her decades of clinical experience to the United States in 1974, and opened a practice in San Francisco’s Chinatown. She became one of the first licensed acupuncturists in California in 1984 after completing her PhD at the San Francisco College of Acupuncture.

To assure a steady supply of quality Chinese herbs for Dr. Lee’s practice, her daughter and son-in-law, my parents, Pat Kwan and Henry Lau, opened an herbal pharmacy in Oakland’s Chinatown in 1979, which quickly became known for the reliability, quality and traceability of the products they supplied. My family’s small pharmacy grew to be Nuherbs, the leading supplier of TCM herbal ingredients to manufacturers, as well as impeccable finished products relied upon by TCM and acupuncture practitioners as well as retailers.

Although we have grown quite large in this, our 40th anniversary year, we are still true to our roots. By viewing what we do as healers first, and business people second, we maintain the trust of our customers. We’ve also made commitment to sustainability of herbs part of our mission so they will be available to future generations.

NIE: What is the “Ai Cao Yao” system and how does Nuherbs implement it?

Lau: The phrase “Ai Cao Yao,” which means “love herbal remedies,” describes what is at the heart of our sourcing practices for herbs. It’s responsible stewardship: honoring the gifts of nature and using them responsibly. Our practices prevent over-harvesting and ensures quality. Specifically, each herb is assessed to confirm it can be harvested sustainably, and we support and are involved in organizations that do this. We identify the right region in which it should be grown for the activity we seek. We make sure it is collected at the proper time, using the right techniques for the health of the plant and the herb’s activity. We use processing methods that ensure the final product is safe, and of high quality. Our rigorous safety and quality systems ensure we will have consistent results, and storage practices ensure our products stay that way. Finally, we choose partners that share these values, many of which we have worked with since China was opened to outside trade.

NIE: Why did Nuherbs decide to have a scholarship program and how does one qualify?

Lau: Nuherbs decided to launch a scholarship program because we wanted to support the future of TCM. We want to make sure that there will be a pipeline of qualified practitioners to share the wonders of TCM through their success. Based on our experience as practitioners, we know that once people see the results that they themselves, their friends, and family have with TCM, they become believers and advocates of TCM. When we launched the scholarship program, we realized there was a dearth of scholarships for TCM students and we felt like it was something that we could commit to longterm. We believe that we have to support students, practitioners and the profession, so the eco-system could thrive in the U.S. We can’t be the future of TCM by ourselves, it takes a whole community. It’s also a way we can give back and share our success.

NIE: What is “geo-authenticity” and how does the company provide traceability?

Lau: Geo-authenticity, which in TCM is sometimes called Di Dao (authentic source), is the principle that herbs wildcrafted or cultivated where they naturally grow will have better potency and authenticity compared to those cultivated in non-native locations. The temperature, soil, terrain, micro-climate and humidity all influence potency of the plant. Because of our longevity in the business, we have established lasting relationships with growers are wildcrafters in these specific regions to ensure our supply. Because we get our herbs directly from our long-term partners, we know exactly where they were grown. By sourcing herbs from us, our customers participate to ensuring the future of these plants.