Garden Grove, CA—Alkemist Labs is raising awareness on the botanicals and fungi that most frequently failed identity testing during the first half of 2024. "We encourage brands to be especially careful sourcing these materials, and make sure they are tested by the most competent labs,” said CEO Elan Sudberg. “We also suggest that anyone involved in raw material sourcing familiarize themselves with the Botanical Adulterants Prevention Program (BAPP) and have a policy for in place dealing with serious quality issues before they need it.”

20 Ingredients Requiring Extra Scrutiny

Alkemist said this list is representative of the products Alkemist’s manufacturer clients are testing before they put them into their products, as well as some finished products. 

Latin Name  /  Common Name

  1. Echinacea purpurea  /  Echinacea purpurea
  2. Eleutherococcus senticosus  /  Eleuthero
  3. Ganoderma lucidum  /  Reishi
  4. Gynostemma pentaphyllum  /  Gynostemma
  5. Hericium erinaceus  /  Lion’s mane
  6. Malus pumila /   Apple
  7. Melissa officinalis  /  Lemon balm
  8. Nasturtium officinale  /  Watercress
  9. Olea europaea  /  Olive
  10. Rhodiola rosea  /  Rhodiola
  11. Sambucus nigra  /  Elderberry, European elder
  12. Serenoa repens   / Saw palmetto
  13. Siraitia grosvenorii  /  Luo han guo, monk fruit
  14. Stevia rebaudiana   / Stevia
  15. Taraxacum officinale /   Dandelion
  16. Trifolium pratense  /  Red clover
  17. Urtica dioica  /  Nettle, stinging nettle
  18. Vangueria agrestis / Bakin gagai (Hausa)
  19. Vitis vinifera / Grape
  20. Withania somnifera / Ashwagandha

Several of the above ingredients including Eleuthero, Lion’s mane, apple, monk fruit, nettle, grape, ashwagandha, and elderberry, also appeared on Aklemist's 2023 list. That year, elderberry saw the most failures.

Regarding testing methods, Alkemist explained:

  •  All ingredients were tested using High Performance Thin-Layer Chromatography (HPTLC) to assess identity and quality of botanicals and various ingredients.
  • HPTLC, for which Alkemist holds a flexible scope ISO 17025 accreditation, is able to detect adulterants and contamination, such as containing incorrect plant parts, closely related species, and unknowns.
  • This technique is applicable to crude raw botanicals from powdered to whole form, extract (powdered or liquid), and finished product/blends. 
  • Alkemist will share more details on methodology upon request (contact your Alkemist Labs rep).

Related: The Botanical Boom

Highlights from Vitafoods 2024

2023 Person of the Year: Mark Blumenthal, American Botanical Council