How our pills are made

The Finest Ingredients

Selecting the finest quality herbal ingredients is the first and foremost step in producing Traditional Chinese Herbal pills. Herbs come in their raw, dried form and are later ground into a powder.  Juliana, our herbalist, personally checks each herbal ingredient to ensure that only the highest quality, potent herbs are used.

Grinding the Herbs

Rusted Grinder

Antique Herb Grinding Tool

Grinding herbs into powder used to be very difficult and time consuming task in old days. When dealing with dried roots and twigs, cleavers and wooden chopping block were used to chop them into smaller pieces. Hard seedy herbs and natural minerals had to be repeatedly pulvalized with a mallet into manageable sizes. When all the herbs are finally small enough to be ground into powder, the griding tool (shown on the left) were rolled back and forth for many hours to turn coase herbs into finer powder.

Chopping Block

Old chopping block

Now the process of griding herbs is much more efficient with a help of modern equipments. Not only do they save significant amount of time, it also made it possible to produce Ultra fine particles which is similar to the texture of corn starch. What was considered fine powder back in old days is now referred to as coarse when compared to the Ultra fine particle produced by the machine. It is still a labor intensive process requiring many hours of griding using 3 different machines - pulverizer, mills and powder grider, yet griding raw ingredients into ultra-fine particles is critical to making high-quality herbal pills because these ultra fine particles:

  • Are easier to assimilate once they reach the intestinal tract, thereby working immediately, and
  • Are easier to bind and therefore eliminate the need for chemical binding agents.
  • make it possible for pills to gain smooth polished appearance.

 

Preparation of the Honey

Honey Scum

Scums on the honey after several hours of cooking

Honey is commonly used as a ingredients in Traditional Chinese Herbal pills. One main reason is that it makes easy for the powder to bind together to form pills. Though it is entirely possible to form a pills without a honey, it tends to fall apart very easily. Thus, it is not suited for the production in bigger quantity. In more modern production method used by large manufacturers, chemical binding agents & preservatives are commonly used to stabilize the pills for the sake of mass production, which in turn sacrifice the quality of the pills. We are of course strongly against using ingredients that may negatively impact health. One of the reasons why honey is used as an ingredient is that it is the best form of natural preservative. It also dissolves in the digestive tract very easily compared to harsh chemical preservatives. Therefore the efficacy of the herb ingredients remains intact. However, it must be properly processed before used as an ingredient. It is a very simple method to purify the honey. It is again a time-consuming, but necessary step in order to produce the best quality pills. Here is how:

  1. Add raw honey and water (1 : 1 ratio) in the large pot.

  2. Stir and dissolve the honey as you heat it up on the stove.

  3. Skim off anything that floats to the surface as you simmer the mixture.

  4. Add more water as the mixture is reduced because of evaporation while skimming off continuously.

  5. The process above is repeated for about 5- 6 hours, until nothing floats to the surface.

    Scum Jello

    Jello like hardened scum of the honey

  6. Continue simmering and let the mixture reduce to the half of the original amount.

  7. At the end of the process, you will notice that a part of the mixture solidifies like very firm Jello (see the picture).

  8. Strain and remove it from the mixture.

  9. The honey is now purified and ready to be used.

 

Forming the Pills

Coating Machine

Mist of honey & water are added to the powdered herbs in the spinning bowl to form pills

The fine powdered herbal mixture is placed into a spinning bowl and misted with a mixture of honey and water as the machine spins. As the powder particles begin to stick to one another, they form thousands of micro-pellets. The mist is reapplied slowly and repeatedly until the powder absorbs the liquid. At this point a small amount of powder is added, causing the micro-pellets to become larger and drier. The process of spraying the honey and water mixture, and then adding more powder is repeated until the pills are the appropriate size. The pills are then dried one more time, and a final concentrated mixture of honey and water is added to polish and coat the pills.