Healing With Herbal Supplements
HEALING WITH HERBAL SUPPLEMENTS!
Herb Pharm Herbal Supplements:
Note: Although most herbal remedies need to be extracted using an alcohol base, their are some herbs that can be ‘alcohol-free’ and are usually extracted using a glycerite base. So if you are sensitive to alcohol please make note of this. AND as with ALL herbal supplements discontinue if experiencing any rash or adverse reaction. Caution when pregnant as several herbs can be contra-indicated during pregnancy or lactation.
A Healthy Farm Yields Healthy Herbs
At Herb Pharm they grow most of their herbs on the “Pharm Farm” – their certified organic farm located in a rural valley of the Siskiyou Mountains in southern Oregon. As organic farmers, we never use synthetic fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, nor do they use genetically modified seeds. Instead, they employ fundamental, time-honored sustainable agriculture techniques including crop rotation, cover cropping, natural weed control such as hand weeding and flame weeding, and composting to condition our soil.
Each year, their farm is inspected and certified as organic by Oregon Tilth. Oregon Tilth is a nonprofit organization supporting and promoting biologically sound and socially equitable agriculture through education, research, advocacy, and certification.
Oregon Tilth Certified Organic (OTCO) is an internationally recognized symbol of organic integrity. The purpose of organic certification is to ensure that the agreed upon conventions of organic agricultural systems are being practiced not only by growers, but also by all the people who handle and process organic food, feed and fiber on its journey to the consumer. In order to accomplish this, OTCO provides a system that combines strict production standards, on-site inspections, and legally binding contracts to protect the producers and buyers of organic products.
Custom Wildcrafted Herbs
Herb Pharm environmental commitments also include harvesting wild herbs in a responsible and sustainable manner – what we’ve termed “Custom Wildcrafted”. Herb Pharm’s strict protocols assure proper identification of plant species and optimal time of harvest, and insure conservative harvest yields and habitat protection in order to facilitate conservation of these valuable plants for future generations.
Why “Liquid” Extracts?
Herb Pharm Liquid Herbal Extracts – Your most effective herbal solution!!
After 30-plus years of manufacturing quality herbal medicines, Herb Pharm continues to produce primarily liquid herbal extracts. While we do manufacture a number of topical products, along with our Super Echinacea capsules and Pharma Kava capsules (both of which are made from the dried liquid extract), Herb Pharm remains the leading manufacturer of liquid herbal extracts in the United States. Tens of thousands of educated herb consumers around the country recognize the advantages of taking their medicines as liquids. Medical professionals trained in the use of herbal medicines also prescribe their medicines primarily as liquid extracts. Why? To help you appreciate the merits of why this simple yet sophisticated method of taking herbal medicines is far superior to taking most capsules and tablets, the following discussion is offered:
- Your Body Absorbs Liquids Better
One of the primary benefits of using liquid herbal extracts is that they do not require digestion. You don’t need to extract what is medicinal from the plant cellulose before it can be absorbed – this has already been done for you. As you would expect, liquid herbal extracts are of particular benefit to those individuals who possess impaired digestive function. In many situations where digestion is not optimally functioning, it simply makes little sense to give a medicine in any form, other than liquid.
- Tasting the Herb Can Aid Effectiveness
There are five primary tastes in our universe – sweet, salty, bitter, pungent, and astringent. Unfortunately, western medical science has mainly researched sweet, salty, and bitter. In each instance, however, science has shown that when a taste is perceived by a taste receptor on the tongue, neurotransmitters are released into nervous tissue fibers that result in signaling the medulla of the brain. In the case of the ‘bitter experience’, once this initial signal from the tongue reaches the medulla, a nerve impulse is then initiated which results in an increase in gastric, pancreatic, gallbladder, and liver secretion. Simply by tasting something bitter you’re able to fortify a myriad of digestive functions.
- Fresh from the Field Extraction
Some plants must be extracted in their fresh state, while others must be extracted dried to produce a medicine of any worth. By producing liquid extracts Herb Pharm is able to extract the herb fresh or dried, selecting whichever produces the best medicine. Of course, this is impossible to achieve with crude, dried herb capsules and tablets.
- Liquid Extracts Last Longer
Most liquid herbal extracts have an excellent shelf life. This is an important consideration for any individual who stores extracts for personal use, sale, or prescription. As a general rule, liquid extracts containing alcohol have an expected shelf life of 5 years, while those containing no alcohol (glycerites) are best used within 3 years. While the shelf life of many extracts will certainly surpass these estimates, for the safe and effective use of liquid herbal extracts these approximations are best adhered to. In contrast to the excellent shelf-life of liquid herbal extracts, studies indicate that crude, dried Echinacea capsules lose approximately 90% of their activity in a little more than a year from their manufacture date.
- Dosing with Drops is Simple & Flexible
The sophistication of liquid extract delivery is no more apparent than when it comes to dosage flexibility. For example, when using liquid herbal extracts a pediatrician is able to give a small child a fraction of a single drop simply by placing one drop of the extract in one ounce of water or juice and administering the appropriate fraction of the solution. You simply cannot do this with any other delivery system.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a liquid herbal extract?
A liquid herbal extract is a concentrated solution made by extracting (pulling or “washing”) the herb’s chemical constituents out of the inert herb fiber (cellulose) with a solution of alcohol and water or glycerine and water. A good liquid herbal extract should optimally preserve the aroma, taste and biological activity of the herb from which it is made. Vanilla extract is a commonly known liquid herbal extract.
Are extracts made from fresh herbs better than ones made from dry herbs?
Many people assume that a fresh herb extract is superior to a dry herb extract, but this is not necessarily true; it really depends upon the unique biochemical, biophysical and energetic properties of the specific herb being extracted. While some herbs do indeed make a superior extract when extracted while still fresh and succulent (e.g., Shepherd’s Purse, Corn Silk), there are also many herbs which make a superior extract when extracted after the herb is dried (e.g., Hops, Grindelia). Also, some herbs are best extracted when semi-dried (e.g., Saw Palmetto), or fermented (e.g., Wild Cherry, Sweet Clover). Some are overly active when fresh and must be dried and aged one year before use (e.g., Buckthorn, Cascara Sagrada). For thousands of years people have been using thousands of different herbs. While some of these herbs are used fresh, the vast majority is used in their dry form. Remember that each herb has its own unique properties and therefore must be treated accordingly. There are no universals when it comes to herbal handling and extraction.
What is the purpose of alcohol in liquid herbal extracts?
Grain alcohol is the best food-grade solvent for extracting and preserving many of the naturally occurring herb constituents that are poorly soluble in water. The food-grade grain alcohol used to prepare liquid extracts serves three specific functions. First, alcohol is the only edible solvent that will extract and preserve many of the naturally occurring herb constituents that are poorly soluble in water, such as essential oils, resins, balsams and many alkaloids. Second, alcohol is an excellent natural preservative, which maximizes the shelf life of the extracts. Third, alcohol is a great carrying agent, which facilitates the absorption of the herb’s constituents into the bloodstream.
How much alcohol is in liquid herbal extracts and how much alcohol am I really consuming?
The amount of alcohol in individual liquid extracts can vary from 20% to 90% depending on the herb being extracted and its content of alcohol and water-soluble constituents. For example, to fully extract Cayenne’s pungent resins and orange-red pigments require at least 80% alcohol is required. A Cayenne extract made with a lower amount of alcohol will contain smaller amounts of Cayenne’s resins and pigments, and therefore will be of lower quality than the higher alcohol extract. The amount of alcohol you consume in a dose of liquid extract is actually very small. For example, taking 30 drops of Echinacea liquid extract (alcohol content of 45% to 50%) amounts to consuming 1/65th of a can of beer or 1/85th of an 8-ounce glass of wine. Also, if you mix those 30 drops of Echinacea liquid extract into 2 ounces of water, that mixture would contain only 0.59% alcohol.
Can I evaporate away the alcohol in liquid herbal extracts by mixing the extract drops into hot water?
A small amount of the alcohol can be removed this way but most of it will stay intimately mixed with the hot water and will remain so even if the water is boiled. That’s because alcohol and water are extremely difficult to separate once they have been mixed. While adding extracts to hot water will not eliminate their alcohol, it can, in some cases, actually damage the extract. Many extracts are heat stable (e.g., Goldenseal) and adding them to hot water does no harm. However, other extracts are damaged by heat (e.g., Valerian) and can be weakened by adding them to hot water. Also, essential oils found in certain extracts (e.g., Lemon Balm, Chamomile) will be at least partially vaporized by hot water. Here you are left with a compromised extract, but the alcohol remains. If an extract is directed to be taken hot to increase its diaphoretic (sweat-inducing) action, it should be added to hot water that is not too hot to drink.
What is the best way to take liquid herbal extracts?
You should always put liquid extracts into water or juice for consumption. Taking them straight from the dropper may cause a burning sensation in the mouth and is discouraged. Mix the prescribed number of extract drops into 1 to 2 ounces of water unless the label directs otherwise. You can also add the drops to warm tea (not piping hot) or juice. Certain herbs, because of their stronger action, require more water. For optimal results, sip the mixed drops so you can savor the extract’s flavor and aroma. Although you may not always like the taste, it contributes part of the therapeutic effect of the herb. Always follow label instructions. Some products require more water or have other special instructions for use such as the throat spray or eye drops.
What is the proper dosage of liquid herbal extracts for children?
Unless otherwise noted, all doses are for adults, but Clark’s Rule can be used to convert the adult dose to a child’s dose. Some extracts are not suitable for children. Consult your doctor for advice.
Divide the child’s weight (in pounds) by 150 to get the fraction of the adult dose to give to the child. Example: For a 50 pound child give 50/150 (or 1/3) of the adult dose. Therefore, if the adult dose is 30 drops taken 3 times per day, the child’s dose will be 10 drops taken 3 times per day (not 30 drops taken 1 time per day). Some extracts are not suitable for children. Consult your doctor for advice.
How many drops are in a one-ounce bottle of liquid herbal extract?
The number of drops in a bottle of liquid extract will vary depending on the viscosity (thickness) of the extract. For example, one ounce of Herb Pharm’s Goldenseal liquid extract contains 1,243 drops, Echinacea liquid extract contains 1,184 drops, and Marshmallow liquid extract, which is very viscous, contains only 1,000 drops. In general, most extracts fall within the range of 1,000 to 1,300 drops per ounce. This is equivalent to 25-32 individual doses per bottle.
How can I compare the dosage of herb capsules or tablets to the dosage of liquid herbal extracts?
Liquid herbal extracts are much easier to absorb and assimilate into the body than herb capsules and tablets. Herb capsules and tablets made from crude herb have to be digested (i.e., extracted) by your body before the herb’s chemical constituents can be absorbed into the bloodstream. Since many herbs are very woody, digesting and absorbing them can be very difficult, especially for people with digestive problems. Therefore, much of the capsule or tablet remains undigested and never gets absorbed. However, the chemical constituents in a liquid herbal extract have already been “digested” and can therefore be readily absorbed into the bloodstream. Because of these differences, liquid herbal extracts are a much more efficient means of getting the chemical constituents out of the crude herb and into the bloodstream.
Because of the widely varying amount of hard-to-digest woody fiber in various herbs and the efficiency of absorbing and assimilating liquid extracts, it is impossible to directly compare liquid extracts with powders. Powders have the additional disadvantage of quickly losing their potency through oxidation, so more is needed to achieve the same effect. Fresh plant extracts are even more difficult to equate to powders because the fresh, un-dried plant has very different characteristics than the dried plant. We make extracts from fresh herbs for those plants that typically do not dry well either because they degrade or because some constituents volatilize upon drying. Drying and powdering these herbs places them at a still greater disadvantage. Always follow the label’s recommendation for dosage.
What is the meaning of “pyrrolizidine alkoloids removed” on your Comfrey liquid extract?
About 3% of flowering plants contain a group of highly variable chemical compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs); Comfrey is in this group of plants. PAs can have a toxic effect on the liver when taken orally in large amounts or for extended periods of time. The amount and type of PAs in plants can vary greatly depending upon the botanical species and variety, growing conditions, plant part, and time of harvest. Occasional, small amounts of PAs are harmless to the body, but they can be cumulative. Children, the elderly and those with liver disease are more easily harmed by PAs and fetuses are particularly vulnerable.
The United States Food and Drug Administration has banned all sales of Comfrey for internal use, but it can still be sold for external use. Herb Pharm’s Comfrey extract is now sold for external use only. Because of safety concerns, Canada, Australia, England and several European countries have banned the sale of PA-containing herbs, although Germany and Switzerland do allow the sale of PA-free (‹1 ppm) herbal products. The PAs can be removed by a chemical-free process (ion exchange), which removes nothing from the extract but the PAs and 2 to 3% of its minerals. This process does not compromise the quality of these PA-free extracts and they can be used without concerns about PA toxicity. To assure safety, Herb Pharm’s Comfrey contains less than 1 ppm of PAs.
Are your products gluten-free and does grain alcohol contain gluten?
Yes, all of our products are gluten-free. Our grain alcohol is made from corn, which does not contain gluten.
About Herb Pharm
The First Years
On March 8, 1979, Herb Pharm was officially established as a bona fide business in Williams, Oregon. Back in those days, Herb Pharm’s “lab” was the kitchen of Ed Smith and Sara Katz, the company’s founders and owners. Bottles were filled one-by-one with a beaker, and labels were typed with a typewriter on Avery blanks. Accompanied by a handful of apprentices who lived in Ed and Sara’s house, days and nights were spent planting, harvesting and grinding the roots, leaves, flowers and seeds that grew in our garden and the surrounding mountains to make their liquid herbal extracts.
Serving a Need
In those days, Herb Pharm’s little company was the alternative to the rather poor quality and limited array of medicinal herb products available in the 70’s. Back then, they spoke constantly and loudly of the importance of using organic, high-quality herbs as opposed to the overdried plant fiber that the few existing companies were using in their products.
Focus on Quality
Herb Pharm focused on collecting the best quality herbs we could, hand-picking the most medicine laden plant parts while paying close attention to the plants themselves, their peak of readiness and the best time of day for harvest. We even drove 100 miles round trip to fill their jugs with solar distilled water for their extracts!
Herb Pharm Traditional Roots
Before starting Herb Pharm, Ed lived five winters in the South American jungle learning about plants from the native healers. He practiced herbal medicine at a missionary clinic in Guatemala, and studied every herb book he could get his hands on. Early on, we used formulas from traditional American herbals, the writings of the Eclectic Physicians, and the U.S.Pharmacopoeia’s.
Ed Smith began formulating proprietary compounds, using knowledge from his studies and extensive travels. Always paying close attention to worldwide medicinal herb research, Herb Pharm introduced to the American herb market valuable medicinal herb products such as Ginkgo and Vitex.
Today at Herb Pharm
Ed and Sara still own Herb Pharm as a family business, and are involved in the daily operations of the company. They now have an 85-acre certified organic herb farm (called the “Pharm Farm”), employ 75 people, and sell products to health food stores, Herbalists, Naturopathic Physicians, and Medical Doctors worldwide.
Attention to Detail
Herb Pharm is as picky as ever about the plants they use and their meticulous extraction. They extract each herb according to its own unique physical and biochemical characteristics at a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Williams. As years go by, we constantly look for ways to improve the quality of their herbal medicines.
Committed to Principles of Traditional Herbal Medicines
There is an ever-increasing trend towards refining herbs and isolation of herbal constituents. Their broad-spectrum extracts provide an alternative to this trend. Herb Pharm are still committed to herbal extracts that represent the whole plant, and the basic principles of traditional herbal medicines. They are sincerely grateful and thank all of our customers who have used our products through these years. As they continue to sink our herbal roots deeper and deeper, Herb Pharm will constantly strive to bring their customers the finest herbal extracts available anywhere.
Shake Well Before Using. Two to five times per day take 30 to 40 drops in a little water. (1 dropper full)
More About Herb Pharm
There was a time not that long ago when the society focused squarely on fighting nature in the interest of progress. The land suffered and so did we. Herb Pharm started with a few scrappy idealists who believed they could cultivate health from the land without robbing it, and future generations along with it. They looked to ancient healing traditions and then sought to improve upon them.
By using technology and proven clinical practices in tandem with nature, and not in domination of it, our founders challenged themselves to find a better path to health. What they started with was a holistic mandate, not a commercial one. We’re still small enough that we make each batch by hand, but large enough to have the latest in manufacturing and testing technology, which suits us fine. Healthy people and planet has always been our focus, passion and mission and that along with our commitment to our founding principles will never change.