Non Jewish readers may be unaware that Jews clean out fermented grains called chametz from their houses before Passover so that only unleavened bread remains (like matzoh used for the Seder.) Leavened or potentially leavened grains are given to charity or bundled up and sold to a non- Jew, usually for a token sum which is used to repurchase the food after the holiday (provided the purchaser is trustworthy – since the food is in fact transferred.) The definitions of grain vary with different rabbinical authorities and may even include beans and seeds. As you can imagine this is also an issue to an herbalist who keeps an inventory of herbs!
As a public service to my Jewish readers who are freeing their houses of chametz. This list is restrictive- even including herbs processed in barley wine where none remains- since I have a number of Hasidic clients. Of course there may be others I have missed- if so, please comment so I can update my information. Consult with your rabbi about medicinally necessary herbs on the list.
But you still get your horseradish!
A few additional points from Z’ev Rosenberg. 1) Sepharadic Jews have no restrictions on kitniot for Passover, such as rice and beans, so these are fine for them in herbal products 2) Since Chinese herb formulas are medicine, and according to rabbis ‘anything a dog won’t eat’ as per chametz mixtures are fine. If necessary for health, any herb formula can be used. The restriction by certain Hasidim are chumrots/stringencies that not all Jews follow.
Here are the herbs:
Many greens drinks contain sprouts from grain.
Oat straw, milky oats.
Emergen-C in raspberry and mixed berry flavors only, the other flavors are fine.
Several Chinese herbs are derived from species of wheat and barley which may have fermented and others are traditionally processed using products made from wheat or barley. For example, E jiao and Lu jiao jiao are processed with barley wine, Mai ya is barley sprout and Yi Tang is barley sugar. Fu xiao mai is a type of wheat, and Shen qu, known as “medicated leaven”, is processed with wheat or barley. Other herbs are E. jiao/Equus asinus gelatin, Lu jiao jiao/Cervus nippon antler, Mai ya/Hordeum vulga,Yi tang/Maltose, Fu xiao mai/ Triticum aestivum, Shen qu/Massa fermenta
The following raw herbs and raw herb powders are processed with barley or sorghum wine: Shu di huang/Rehmannia glutinosa root – prepared, Huang jing/Polygonatum sibiricum rhizome, Chuan xiong/Ligusticum chuanxiong (wallichii) rhizome, Rou cong rong/Cistanche deserticola herb, Gui ban jiao/Chinemys reevesii shell–gelatin.
Chinese herbal formulas that contain grains or grain products, possibly fermented:
An Mien Pian, An Shui Teapills/An Shui Wan, Bao He San, Bao He Wan, Bojenmi Tea, Bojenmi Teabags, Butiao Tablets/Bu Xue Tiao Jing Wan, Calm Spirit Teapills/ Gan Mai Da Zao Wan, Curing Pills/Kang Ning Wan, Fu Ke Zhong Zi Wan, Gan Mai Da Zao San, Jian Pi Wan, Jiang Ya Pian, Jiao Ai San, Minor Restore The Middle/Xiao Jian Zhong Wan , Qing Zao Jiu Fei San, Rhubarb Teapills/Da Huang Jiang Zhi Wan, Wuchi Paifeng Wan/ Wu Qi Bai Feng Wan, Yang Rong Wan, Yue Ju San, Zhen Gan Xi Feng Teapills, Zi Sheng Wan, Zhi Gan Cao Tang Teapills, Zuo Gu Shen Jing San,
Thanks to Mayway Herbs, Yehuda Fischman, Z’ev Rosenberg and Bob Linde