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.
For more information on deep immune look at our blog on what herbs are good to boost your immune system.
Have questions? Just visit our Great Questions Answered page to learn more or to submit a question.
Deep Immune VegiCaps
Astragalus root is a perennial herb native to northern China and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Use it as an adaptogen for a healthier stress response and to support your immune system.
Codonopsis root is a milder substitute to ginseng in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Also called bonnet bellflower on account of the shape of its blossoms, codonopsis can be found throughout China and other parts of Asia. Use it as an adaptogen to boost immune system health and brain power.
Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng)
Eleuthero root has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. A woody shrub that hails from the forests of northeastern Asia, eleuthero is an adaptogen used to increase stamina, as a tonic, and to boost overall health.
A classic perennial shrub native to Eurasia, licorice has been used as a medicine from the beginning of recorded history. Licorice root is the most widely used herb of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Use it as an adaptogen to increase resistance to stress and to promote a healthier immune system response.
A large evergreen shrub that was originally indigenous to China but is now cultivated in other places, ligustrum grows to more than 30 feet in height. Its fruit is a longstanding and highly important mainstay of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), the first written record of its therapeutic use reaching back to the Shan Hai Jing around 800 B.C. Use it as a tonic to support the immune system and to guard against infections.
A mushroom that enjoys near mythic status in Traditional Chinese Medicine, reishi has been valued in the cultures of the East for millennia as the "king of herbs." Ming Dynasty texts describe it as a remedy that "mends the heart." Use it as an adaptogen to lower the effects of stress and to modulate immune system response.
The bright red berries of this woody climbing vine that grows in the forested regions of northeastern China, as well as Russia. Schisandra berries have a long history of use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Use it as an adaptogen and tonic to promote endurance, lower stress, and boost your immune system.
An aromatic perennial herb that enjoys an ancient heritage in Traditional Chinese Medicine, white atractylodes grows in northern Asia in the mountain-girt valleys of China's Zheijiang province. Use it as an immune system tonic and to support overall body functions.