HERBS & HERB PRODUCTS:
FORMS, COMPOUNDING, QUALITY AND SOURCES
Granule herbs - About half of my patients simply dissolve a custom blend of herb concentrate in 1/3 cup warm water to make medicinal tea—usually 3 times per day. This tea is therapeutically about half the strength of a home-cooked extraction of herbs, but still much stronger than pills, capsules or tinctures. It is ideal for health issues requiring moderate treatment, for traveling, for maintenance treatment over extended periods of time, for those who do not or cannot cook, and for children (small amounts are usually blended into fruit sauce and eaten). It does not require refrigeration (just protection from high temperatures, e.g. direct sun in hot car). For each patient on each visit I write or modify and then compound onsite a custom blend of usually between 6 and 20 of these concentrates.
I stock more than 400 varieties.
More than 95% of the herb granules I stock are KPC Herbs (Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co.) produced at their pharmaceutical-grade state-of-the-art facility (the world’s most advanced herbal manufacturing facility) in Taiwan. KP Ltd. has produced herb products for 40 years and is GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) Certified. Its process for herbal extraction is patented and it has Kosher certification. Modern scientific processing methods and rigorous quality control set KPC apart. Each batch of herbs is tested for safety
(e.g. species identification, heavy metals, pesticides), potency and consistency. Herbs are subject to additional inspection by the FDA.
Whole herbs - About half of my patients cook herb tea on their stove at home. This is the classical Chinese way to prepare medicinal tea and is by far the strongest therapeutically. It is best for very challenging health conditions, to nourish deep deficiencies (of Qi, Blood,
Yin or Yang) or to treat acute conditions (e.g. colds or flu). Preparing the herbs at home gives the patient the strongest direct relationship with the herbs and involves the patient more deeply in their own healing. For each patient on each visit I write or modify and then compound onsite a custom blend of usually between 6 and 20 herbs (roots, seeds, leaves, flowers, buds, etc.) The patient receives bags of herbs and cooks each bag into enough tea for two days, drinking a small mug of tea three times per day.
About 75% of the whole herbs I stock are processed and tested by Mayway Corporation of San Francisco (Plum Flower Brand). They are sulfur and preservative-free and tested to verify species and screen for heavy metals and pesticides. Mayway’s standards for heavy metals, for example, are even more stringent than those of the US Pharmacopeia and the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration. Mayway’s facilities are GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) certified. Herbs are subject to additional inspection by the FDA.
About 15% of the herbs I stock are grown organically—mostly on the West Coast. In a few cases it is necessary to obtain whole herbs from other sources and then high quality and correct species is always a priority. Patients requiring only fully tested whole herbs can be easily accommodated.
Capsules, tablets, pills, liquid extracts - While most patients receive custom herbs teas, a variety of situations are appropriately addressed with herbs in other forms. For example:
--liquid extracts are sometimes best for very young children
--tablets or capsules may be suitable for “first-aid” or occasional use (e.g. sinus problems, early stage colds, digestive disturbance)
--sleep capsules may be appropriate to avoid drinking liquids before bed or on waking during the night
Topical herb products - I frequently compound (onsite) custom blends of herbs to treat pain (e.g., herbal soaks) and also custom blend herbs to apply topically for various skin conditions (e.g., poison oak, rashes, scars, skin fissuring, warts) since skin problems are one of my specialties. These custom blends may be applied as compresses, liniments, oils or pastes.
I also stock a number of commercially prepared topical herb products for pain or skin conditions, including washes (topical and oral), compresses, soft plasters & liniment. At least part of the treatment for many skin conditions (e.g. eczema, fungal infections, sores, yeast infections, oral ulcers, etc.) is often best applied topically.