Herbal capsules are one of the go-to ways to take medicinal herbs and enjoy their health benefits. Compared with herbal teas and syrups, capsules are mess-free and easier to use while you're on-the-go. Herbal capsules also have a strong advantage over tinctures: they're tasteless (which comes in pretty handy with some of the less-than-palatable herbs... we're looking at you, goldenseal!), and they're alcohol-free (for those of us who wish or need to avoid alcohol). So, are medicinal herbs and capsules a match made in herbal heaven? Actually, yes and no. The thing with herbal capsules is: how they're made is crucial. Read on for our top tips on how to choose herbal capsules like a pro, and get the most benefit out of them every time.
Check your herbal capsules ingredients
This first tip might seem obvious, but when it comes to medicinal herb capsules, a comprehensive ingredient list is a must. For instance, you might see that a capsule contains the herb you want, like schisandra, but is it made with the correct part of the herb – in this case, the fruit? This information should be listed on the ingredient list, along with the herb's Latin name, like this: Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis, fruit).
Verify freshness and potency
Freshness and potency are essential for choosing the right herbal capsules that deliver on their benefits. Freshness of herbs really depends on the manufacturer's practices. Here at St. Francis Herb Farm, we rely on using the whole herb to ensure freshness in the making of our herbal capsules – as opposed to using powdered herbs from third party suppliers which may have been sitting in warehouses for years.
Potency is measured through the extraction process. You can verify the potency of your herbal capsules by checking the ingredient list: next to the herb name, it should list the extraction ratio, which is the extraction process that makes the herb more concentrated than its dried herb equivalent (DHE), along with the exact content of herb extract per capsule. Here's an example taken from the ingredient list on our Deep Immune VegiCaps: Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis, fruit) 34 mg (5:1, DHE 170 mg).
Look out for fillers in your herbal capsules
Though some common fillers might be safe for consumption, when you choose herbal capsules, you want them filled with herbs – not cheap fillers. Check your ingredient list's “non-medicinal ingredients” section and scan for fillers, binders, coatings, coloring and flavoring agents, preservatives, and other non-herb additives. The less ingredients, the better! Our Deep Immune VegiCaps, for example, boasts only two non-medicinal ingredients, one of which is the veggie capsule itself.
Use these tips to choose the right herbal capsules, every time.
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.