Industry pays tribute to Bill Brevoort's 'remarkable life'

Photo credit: Steven Foster

The natural products industry has paid tribute to Bill Brevoort, a pioneer of Chinese medicinal herb, who recently passed away at his home in Kona, HI at the age of 75.

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

Tributes to Brevoort’s impact and legacy have flowed in, with Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of the American Botanical Council, writing in an ABC Member Advisory: “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.

“When I first started ordering from them, they were living in Reedsport, Oregon, 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.”

“A remarkable life”

Loren Israelsen, UNPA President, who had known Bill for more than 30 years, commented: “Bill Brevoort was unlike anyone I have known. He was a scholar of TCM, a master formulator — a wizard, actually — whose drops and tinctures carry true healing power. He lived as a monk, sitting in meditation for many hours a day, with his mind in states of consciousness that few have experienced. He tended his garden, listened to classical music, talked politics, cooking ideas and recipes and refused to wear shoes — shirt optional. He lived just north of Kona, Hawaii, with a panoramic view of the Pacific Ocean with whale spouts often in sight.

“The last time Bill and I were together, he gave me a bottle of his special cordyceps extract – a treasure then and more so now. His death came unexpectedly, and I have still not come to terms with this news. But I am sure he is filled with wonder and gratitude to be reunited with his masters and teachers. The long meditation sessions are, no doubt, already in progress. Peggy, his dear wife and materfamilias to many, will keep his memory alive as will all those who continue to hold the teachings and generosity of Bill as a living record of his remarkable life.”

More tributes have been published by the American Botanical Council, and can be read HERE.