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Originally published May 14 2008

Australian Herbs Could Replace Dangerous Sodium Benzoate in Foods, Beverages

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) An inventor has developed a blend of native Australian herbs that he says functions as an effective preservative for foods and beverages, and can be used to replace artificial preservatives such as sodium benzoate.

Vic Cherikoff markets his product Herbal-Active as an inhibitor of bacteria and surface mold growth, and as a flavoring agent. Cherikoff says that he researched a number of native Australian herbs and developed a blend that is 30 times more effective as a preservative than the sum of all the plants put together. Because he cannot afford to patent the blend, Cherikoff says, he will not reveal which herbs are being used. He says only that all of them are native culinary herbs and are either wild-harvested or grown on organic plantations.

Cherikoff's blend is not certified organic, but the concentrations required for use as a preservative are low enough that they can still be used in organic products. To inhibit the growth of bacteria and yeast, Herbal-Active only needs to comprise 0.02 to 0.05 percent of a product. Concentrations up to 20 times greater are needed to inhibit surface mold; at that concentration, the herb blend gives foods and beverages a distinctive herbal flavor with a hint of licorice.

Because all the ingredients in Herbal-Active are already culinary herbs, the product can be listed as "herbal extracts" in ingredients lists, and products using it can bear a "preservative-free" label.

Herbal-Active has already been purchased and used by a university in New South Wales, United Kingdom, which runs a small dairy. The herbal preservative is used to keep the dairy's cheeses from spoiling due to exposure to the yeast from a nearby vineyard.

According to Cherikoff, Herbal-Active does not affect lactic acid bacteria, meaning that it can be used as a preservative in fermented meat and dairy products without interfering with those products' probiotic effects.

The inventor says that a "major juice company" is testing Herbal-Active for potential use.

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