Dosage and Use
The standard daily dosage for the average adult is 6.0 grams. Using this amount, a 100 gram packet will provide about 16-17 daily doses. A level teaspoon of granules is approximately equally to 3 grams. A one gram plastic white spoon is provided by the manufacturer for easy measuring and use. We recommend that one measuring tea spoon of granules or three one gram spoon be taken in the morning and again in the evening.
Preferably, the herbs should be taken on an empty stomach, either 20-30 minutes before meals or at least an hour about meals. If the herbs are being used to treat digestive disturbance or weakness, we suggest that you do not eat raw or sour foods with those meals. In general, the Chinese recommend that the use of large amount of fried good be stopped during most herbal therapies. Otherwise, you may follow your normal diet or any recommended diet.
When experiencing new symptoms or flare-up of chronic symptoms, the dosage many be increased. For example, you may take a teaspoon of the granules three times per day rather than twice per day, or you might take two teaspoons of granules each time, twice per day. Large does are not toxic, but excessive dosage could cause gastrointestinal disturbance or headache. For long term use as a tonic or preventive, the dosage can be reduced to 1/2 teaspoon twice per day or one teaspoon once per day.
What is the advantage of using concentrated Chinese Herbal Formulas?
The cost of concentrated extract granules is about the same as the cost of herbal prescriptions using whole herbs to make teas. In other words, the extra convenience of taking granules rather than making the teas and drinking them is at virtually no extra cost. A few of the formulas are more expensive, but generally you can switch to a less expensive formula after one month of therapy. Even when a formula seems relatively ineffective, it is providing nutritional and other benefits, since there are wholesome products made from high quality herbs. When a formula is notably effective, one immediately can see that the expense was well worth it.
Why Use Chinese Herbs Rather Than Western Herbs?
There are valuable herbs growing everywhere in the world. Selecting the most useful plants, determining which plant parts ought to be used, and deciding the correct method of using them is the task herbalists must tackle. In China, unlike other parts of the world, herbalists have sought out special tonic herbs that can be taken daily for improvement of physical condition, enhancement of energy, increase in resistance to disease, and prolongation of life. These herbs especially distinguish Chinese herbs from others.
The term "Western herbs" really applies to a method of using herbs rather than to the origin of the herbs. For example, Western herb books often list Asian herbs such as gotukola, ginger, licorice, and tang-kuei; African herbs such as capsicum and devil's claw;South American herbs, such as camomile and myrrh, and so on. Herbs are used according to their reputed health benefits without necessarily referring to a complex syndrome to be treated or to an integration of herbal properties within a formula.
Numerous producers of dried extracts often provide powders. Granulation is an extra step. The main reason for this measure is to make it easier to consume the product by swallowing the loose material with a sip of water. Powders ten to cling to the mouth. While traditional formulas can be obtained in capsule or tablet form, specially designed formulas are available only in loose form.
What About Making a Tea?
A tea can be made from the granules as easily as from the powdered extracts. Even though it may appear that the powder are dissolving in the hot water, the fact is they are only suspened. If allowed to sit for a few minutes, the residue of the carrier (used for all such extracts) will be seen at the bottom of the cup. A tea is no more assimilable than the basic product which is a water-based extract sprayed onto a a carrier. It immediately reconstitutes in the stomach as an herbal tea when water is consumed. If a tea is desired, adding boiling water to a cup containing the appropriate amount of granules, stir, and let sit for at least 10 minutes before consuming.
How Do They Compare with Decoctions?
The granules are essentially equivalent to a decoction made from crude herbs. The typical ratio of crude herb weight to granules is 4:1, meaning that a dosage of granules of three gram at one time (a common recommendation in the West) is about the same as making a decoction from 12 grams of crude herb. In Japan, it is common for Kampo practitioners to recommend only 2.5 gram of granules, three times daily. A price comparison between decoting crude herbs and using the convenient granules shows that they are similar in overall cost. A practitioner who prescribes crude herbs will typically give out about a pound of herb materials for a one week supply (seven days, 60 grams each day). This is an average practitioner cost is $3 for the materials when using an an-house pharmacy; less than half the cost for the equivalent of more than half the daily herb dosage.
Why do the Colors and Densities of Extracts Vary?
Natural materials vary in their content of coloring matter from one batch to the next, so that the color of the extracts may vary significantly. This usually has no influence on the medicinal qualities of the herbal extracts. Some herbs yield large amounts and other small amounts of solids in the extract. When combined with the carrier, this results in different densities. Hence, a bottle of oyster shell extract may be only one-third filled, while a bottle of cinnamon twig extract will be completed filled.