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Concentrated Powders - Frequently Asked Questions

What are Powdered Extracts?

Bai Shao
  Powders (once called granules or granulars) are made from decoctions of raw herbs. They are cooked in the traditional style with water as a tea. The liquid extract is then concentrated and dried to a sticky sap-like substance. The sap is then mixed with the dried powdered herb and ground into a fine granule. More on the extraction process

The finished product can be made into a suspension or tea and drunk like tea or mixed with applesauce and eaten. Some patients prefer to just put spoonfuls directly on their tongue and wash them down with a little water.

How Strong are the Powders?

Ding Xian
  Powders are a 5:1 concentration. Each gram of powder equals the potency of 5 grams of raw herb in decoction. When patients make teas at home, errors and irregularities in the cooking process lead to a significant to loss of potency.

Because powders are prepared under the strictest laboratory conditions, powders are actually much stronger than the numbers suggest. Each batch of powders is tested to assure that it provides a minimum of active ingredient per gram. Therefore, powders can be used at a slightly lower dose than raw herbs.

How Safe are Powders?

Granules are lab-tested for heavy metals, bacteria and fungus. Plus KPC granules are batch tested for pesticide and herbicide residues on a regular basis. Patients can only purchase herbs via a prescription from a licensed acupuncturist.

More on the extraction process

How are Powders more Flexible than other forms of Herbs?

Granule formulas can be prepared to your exact specifications. You choose the ingredients and dosage. You are not limited by a manufacturer's premade formulas where you can't delete ingredients or change doses to suit your patient. This way, you can practice chinese herbal medicine to its fullest and give your patients the best medicine for them.

Aren't Powders more Expensive than other Patent Herbs?

Since powders are more potent than other solid forms of patent and give the practitioner maximum flexibility in prescribing, powders really shouldn't be compared to other forms of patents. However, they are very close in price.

A two week course of powders will cost the patient around $28. While this is slightly more than raw herbs, the convenience more than makes up for it. Patients often reject or eventually give up on raw herbs because of the time it takes - and the smell! Granules avoid both of these problems.

Practitioners are free markup the price for their patients. That can mean thousands of dollars per year in profits. In fact, because you collect the money including your mark-up, you make money before you've even ordered the herbs! Many acupuncturists make the majority of their earnings from herb sales.

Why do you recommend dosing twice a day?

We recommend dosing no more frequently than 2 times per day. Patient compliance can be as high as 90% when the dosage is once per day. Compliance drops by 20% when a second dose is added. With the addition of a third dose, patient compliance plummets another 50%. So, while herbs three times a day may be ideal for the patient, in our experience, the more frequent the dosage, the less likely your patient is to take the herbs at all.

More on The Extraction Process

KPC Herbs are produced by Kaiser Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (KP Ltd.) in Taiwan and imported into the United States by KPC Products, Inc. KP Ltd. is one of the oldest and most respected producers of concentrated Chinese herbs in the world. Its state-of-the-art facilities have earned the Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification of the Department of Health, Republic of China and Commonwealth Department of Health, Australia.

Chuan Xiong
The attention to quality extends from the selection of herbs through the entire manufacturing process. The manufacture of concentrates follows demanding and complex scientific procedures; an outline of the process is as follows:  
  1. Raw herbs are checked for quality by well-trained personnel and with scientific instruments.
  2. The herbs are prepared according to the tenets of Chinese medicine. Some herbs are stir-fried, others are wine-fried, etc.

The following processes take place in a clean-room environment:

  1. Single herbs or formulas are cooked in large vats of water in a closed and controlled environment while essential oils are collected for reintroduction later on.
  2. The herbs are removed from the decoction; the liquid is further concentrated, essential oils are reintroduced, and then the mixture is sprayed into a vacuum drying chamber.
  3. The concentrate forms on small particles of raw herbs (or, in some cases, starch) that are introduced into the chamber, and then is vacuum-dried at low temperature.
  4. The concentrated herbs are then siphoned into a separate clean-room where they are bottled, labeled and sealed.
  5. After processing, the product undergoes stringent control procedures to ensure that each lot contains a consistent amount of active constituents.
  6. Further, each lot is subjected to strict tests for bacteria count, E. coli, salmonella and heavy metals


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All information herein provided is for educational use only and not meant to substitute for the advice of appropriate local experts and authorities.

Copyright 1999-2074, Pulse Media International, Brian Carter, MSci, LAc, Editor