FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions
Did you know? According to the World Health Organization, over 80% of the world's population relies on traditional herbs for their primary form of healthcare.
How do I start using herbs?
When starting any new herb, alternative medicine, natural remedy, Chinese medicine, or supplement, you will need to work up to the amount your health professional has suggested. At times, you may see that the supplement or herb needs to be taken 4 times a day. You shouldn't start off with this amount if you are new to the herb. You will want to start off with a very small amount such as one capsule, or 1/8th of a teaspoon. Wait a full 24 hours and take one capsule again. Do this for three days. On day four, you will increase by one dose. Again, do this for three days, then once again increase by one dose. You will keep increase until you hit tolerance or recommend dosage. Tolerance is when you have taken too much and you may have loose bowels, hives, stomach issues, or a headache are a few of the clues which your body is telling you that is enough. If you have an uncomfortable reaction or a serve reaction, stop immediately, call your doctor and discuss the issue.
What is concentrated extract powder and how do I use it?
Concentrated liquid is used to make extract powders. The liquid is decocted using a low-temperature distillation process. Once decocted, the extracted fluid is piped into a circulating vacuum condenser for further concentration. Because many chemical constituents are heat sensitive, heat damage is minimized by evaporation under vacuum to reduce the boiling point to between 70-75 degrees centigrade. Finally, all batches are combined and blended with the essential oils collected during the initial extraction process of making the concentrated liquid.
The concentrated liquid is passed through a fine mesh filter before being spray–dried into extract powder. Individual herbs can vary significantly in the amount of physical substance they yield during extraction. Many do not have the needed substance to form a powder as described above, and a carrier such as dextrin is required.
Concentrated extract powders are convenient to use. Since the herb has been processed, there is no brewing time. Simply add the concentrated to a heat-resistant mug and pour boiling water over the powder. Stir until fully dissolved. If you are using a new herb (one you haven't used before), start slowly and increase the dosage up to your tolerance. The reason there are no set dosage amounts is due to the fact that each person is different. When discussing herbs with your doctor, he or she will inform you of the dosages for your given health issue. In very general terms, most concentated powder dosages should not exceed 9 grams per day.
Do your herb powders contain fillers, dyes, colors, or any other additives?
Our bulk herb powders (one pound size) do not contain any added fillers like corn, wood chips, dyes, or millet. Please note that our Fo-Ti (He Shou Wu) is cooked in soy, but soy is not added to the herb as a filler.
Can you tell me what herbs or supplements to use?
We are not allow to prescribe, diagnose, treat, or cure. We are not doctors. We are only the suppliers of herbs and supplements. You need to talk to your medical professional and find out what herbs and supplements are best suited for you and your health issues. If you want to learn more about what you can do to help with your ailments, visit our ailments pages.
What is the shelf life of herbs and spices?
While herbs and spices generally don’t spoil, they will lose their potency over time. How the herbs and spices are stored will play a large role in how long they retain their potency. If stored in airtight containers, such as glass jars, and kept in a cool, dark, dry place, whole herbs and spices can last up to 3-4 years and ground herbs and spices can last 1-2 years. While the FDA final GMP rule for dietary supplements does not require the establishment of product expiration dates, it does stipulate that a company that chooses to display an expiration or best before date, on any product, is required to have scientific, stability testing results that support the published shelf life of that product. Western bulk herbs are in polyfoil, barrier-sealed bags, which protect the contents from exposure to light and moisture, to preserve the freshness, aroma, and potency of our products.
Are your herbs free of chemicals and pharmaceuticals?
Yes, all of our herbs are free of chemicals and pharmaceuticals. Our herbs are also free of sulfur, E. coli, salmonella, mercury, and other heavy metals. Our manufacturers check for over 200 different impurities. Most of our bulk herbs have Certificate of Analysis available upon request.
"This product requires further processing prior to use." Why is this statement on the bag?
The proper way to use herbs is to process them to ensure you get the most benefit. Many people will call up and say, "I take a spoonful of the powder and put it in my mouth, then guzzle cold water to get it down." There are several issues with this statement. First, by using cold water, it will undermine the effectiveness of the herb. Cold water or any type of cold drink will hamper the digestion processes. Second, guzzling the water down, is not an effective way either. The herb should be brewed into a tea, and sipped when cooled enough to drink. Third, some herbs are such a fine powder that they can get caught in your throat. Putting the herb powder into capsules to be swallowed is an easier method. I'm sure you've seen videos online about the cinnamon challenge where people try to eat a spoonful of cinnamon. It won't go down. They gag, cough puffs of cinnamon dust, their eyes water, and their nose won't stop dripping. This is the same thing that can happen if you just try to take a spoonful of herb powder.
What does GMP mean?
GMP stands for good manufacturing practices. GMP certification means that the site and methods employed in the production of our herbs have been subject to a thorough quality control investigation and are certified to be in compliance. The GMP certification process covers all aspects of manufacturing, including inspection of the buildings and grounds, the air and water purification systems, the handling and processing of raw herbs, the product manufacturing process, the operation and cleaning of equipment, the training of personnel, and quality control testing and documentation. Adherence to guidelines established in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia Formal Manufacturing Instructions, Standard Operating Procedures and Quality Control Protocols. This ensures that every batch of product is safe and of the highest quality. These standards are the guidelines upon which our manufacturers base each decision and allow us to have the confidence to say that our product manufacturers are some of the best herbal product manufacturers, not only in China, but in the world.
Can I take herbs with my perscription medications?
Because some herbs have different interactions with medication, you should discuss all supplements that you take with your physician.
Do any of your herbs have added sulfur?
Yes, at times we have conventional herbs. These herbs have added sulfur as a preservative. The added sulfur is noted on the product pages. Only a small portion of our herbs have added sulfur, less than 1%.
Do you have a physical storefront or is 1st Chinese Herbs only online?
At the present time, we are only a warehouse. We do not have a store to stop by and shop in.
What are the dosages for the herbs?
This difficult to say as we are not doctors. Most people who call are asking about Lyme disease dosages. In very general terms, it is best to start with a very small amount, such as 1/16th of a teaspoon or less and figure out where your tolerance level is. The dosages will vary due to weight, absorption, other herbs used, and digestion issues. Most of all, you should take the amount that your health care professional states or what the bottle states. There is a children's dosage guideline called Clark's Rule written by Mitchell Stoklosa and Howard Ansel.
What are teapills? What are their benefits?
Teapills are small, pea-sized pills that are easy to take. Teapill formulas usually have few different herbs that make up the formula. Most contain about five to ten herbs. However, some teapills contain up to 21 different herbs. To learn more about teapills, visit our How to Use Teapills page.
What does lab-tested mean?
Each batch of herbs is dual-lab tested by our in-house lab and independent third-party lab. The lab is equipped with instruments such as a high performance liquid chromatograph, moisture determination meter, Fourier transform infrared spectrometer, atomic absorption spectrophotometer, gas chromatograph, etc. In addition, the following additional tests are performed:
- Pesticides (over 200 pesticides tested for using the UAB 2000 screen)
- Heavy Metals (lead, mercury and arsenic)
What is the shelf life of the herbs and teapills?
In general terms, the self life of herbs is two years. Teapills have an expiration date on the bottle.
What does C/S mean?
C/S means cut and sifted. This means that the product has uniform pieces.
How do you store herbs and spices?
The herbs and spices should be stored in a tight glass jar with a rubber seal and kept somewhere cool. Avoid keeping them in the refrigerator or near heat sources like ovens, dishwashers, or stoves.
Does your toll-free number work outside the USA?
Our toll-free number is accessible to only the lower 48 states. It is not available to international customers at this time.
What does unsulfured mean?
Sulfur is used to preserve an herb. 99% of our herbs are sulfur-free and do not have any other preservatives.
Are there other ingredients in the concentrated powders?
Dextrin is used as the excipient in our single-herb extracts where necessary. Dextrin can function as a carrier, filler, and drying agent. It is added to the liquid paste before the drying process. The dextrin used is 100% corn-based (derived from corn starch) pharmaceutical grade material. Each batch of dextrin is extensively tested prior to use and results must conform to the established standards of the Chinese Pharmacopoeia before it may be used. The amount of dextrin used depends upon the nature of the herb and its natural extraction yield.
Why do the herbs vary in color?
Variations in color are often due to the growing and drying processes. Just like with anything that grows, there are variations. For example, every year I plant tomatoes. This year they are only the size of golf balls, but are usually the size of oranges. The color also varies greatly, from a deep red to a muted orange.
Why does cordyceps, reishi, and lion's mane have rice filler?
The powders consist of activated mycelium and fruiting body preparation. Other ingredients include organic myceliated brown rice. Mycelia are the vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a network of fine white filaments. Organic brown rice is the growing medium, rather than sawdust or manure. The rice is consumed by the mycelia. It is not a filler. This is full disclosure regarding the ingredients.
How many grams are in a teaspoon?
1 gram = 0.211 teaspoons
5 grams = 1 teaspoon
Note: A gram is a unit that measures mass, which is how much something weighs. A teaspoon measures volume, which is the space that something take up (such as the amount of water in a cup or spoon). To make another conversion, use this easy conversion calculator.
Do you use tracking codes?
Yes, tracking codes are sent as the package is shipped. We ship by USPS (United States Postal Service) and UPS (United Parcel Service). Both forms provide tracking codes.
Do you ship internationally?
Yes, we ship to selected countries only. Some countries will not allow the importation of herbs.
When should I expect my order?
An order should take no more than 7 days to get to you. Our usual method of shipping is US Mail, and the typical transit time is 4 business days, for the continenal USA.
International orders depending on customs can take up to 30 days. Though the usual time is 15 days. We will send tracking for international orders, and can be viewed at www.usps.com. Type in tracking number, and all details are given.
Is online ordering safe?
Yes. Secure HTTPS/SSL encryption, protection of cardholder data, and ongoing compliance validation required makes this service incredibly safe. This ongoing validation is designed to identify and correct any potential security vulnerabilities and to ensure the highest levels of security are maintained.
Do you offer wholesale pricing?
Yes, we do offer wholesale pricing. Please contact us for all details.
What credit cards do you accept? Do you accept Paypal?
We accept Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. We also accept Paypal.
Where is my package shipping from?
The order ships from Olympia, WA.
How do I know which herb is right for me?
We suggest that you seek out an acupuncturist who is able to diagnosis you properly. This way you will be able to obtain the herbs or formula which is specific to your body needs. We are all different, if we were all the same, then there would be only one heart medication, one diabetic pill and only one depression tablet. Though things would be much simpler, one size (one herb) does not fit all. We have a unique body, and we must make an effort to find out what works for our body. Let me give you an example. When I first start this business I worked long hours, and many sleepless nights. A representive came in for a visit and I told her about the issues. She said, oh easy peasy, try Ginseng. She gave me a large sample and the next day first thing in the morning I tried it, with food as she suggested. Bad, Bad, Idea! I took a full dose, did not work up the amount, and I had, headache, loose bowels and was not able to go back to work for 5 days. It was absolutely the wrong herb for me. Yet Ginseng is touted as an energizing herb. You must know your body type, and it's special requirements. If you must, review double blind studies to help you figure out what you need. Review solid facts, not .....Oh this did wonders for me... and most of all look for reliable sources. Though I understand we are in the business so we see and hear a lot, there is really a lot of "Crap" out there. Untrue, statements that people make up just to swindle money out of you. So, please do your homework!
- Vijayan Arun, V.B. Liju, John J.V. Reena, B. Parthipan, C. Renuka. Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge, 2007, 6(4), 589-594.