About Gaia Herbs
Gaia herbs is the leading U.S. manufacturer of liquid herbal extracts of guaranteed quality, and certified organic purity. Since 1987 Gaia Herbs has earned its reputation for unsurpassed quality, authoritative herbal education and innovative product development. Gaia Herbs remains the trusted choice among healthcare professionals and wellness-minded consumers for liquid herbal extracts.
Gaia Herb Farm receives Annual Organic Certification. Oregon Tilth has certified Gaia Farms as an Organic Grower of more than 50 useful plants. The Gaia Herb Farm cultivates over 100 fertile acres in the Blue Ridge mountain range of Southwestern North Carolina.
Gaia Herbs Analytical Laboratory analyzes every batch of every product to ensure quality, product consistency, and activity with state of the art instruments. Gaia has become a leader in herbal product analysis, headed up by Dr. Xiping Wang, Chief Scientist and Natural products Chemist.
How does Gaia Herbs standardize its products?
Through a process referred to as "Full Spectrum Process" Gaia Herbs is able to guarantee the potency and consistency of its products without compromising the "wholeness" characteristics of the plant. To date Gaia Herbs is the only extraction facility to standardize its extracts through this Full Spectrum Process. This Full Spectrum Process standardization is accomplished through four specific procedures:
a. Agricultural Testing: At Gaia Herb Farm, the primary supplier of organic herbs used in the extraction of Gaia Herbs products, analytical testing is carried out through HPLC (High Pressure Liquid Chromatography) while the plants are still in their developmental stage. The test results enable us to harvest the plant at the peak of its therapeutic activity. In this way Gaia Herbs is able to capture a consistent range of the plants bioactivity before the plant is extracted.
b. Extraction Methodology: Extraction techniques are set up using only pure USP grade grain alcohol and pure spring water as solvents. The plants are extracted in their entirety without any purification or isolation of inert substances. This Full Spectrum Process enables the entire chemical profile of the plant to be extracted.
c. Concentration Technology: Once extracted and filtered the herbal liquid is then concentrated using state of the art low heat/low vacuum concentrators. Solvent is removed slowly and gently so as to not disturb the plants fragile constituents. Solvents are distilled off and enable the plant and all it's bioactivity to become concentrated to the desired levels.
d. Final HPLC Analysis: Once concentration is completed a final HPLC test is carried out to ensure the extract is concentrated to the measured level. A marker compound can be used to help support each herb and this compound gives specificity to the extracts level of full spectrum activity.
2. How is dosage determined?
Dosages of Gaia Herbs extracts are determined through two factors:
a. Consideration is given for the concentration of the extract
b. Consideration is given for the specific use of the extract
A third factor may reduce the recommended dose and that is the weight and constitution of the individual using the herb. If an individual is heavier or has a more robust constitution the higher range of the suggested use may be consumed. Contrary if a person weighs less or has a more fragile constitution the lower range of the suggested use should be consumed. Please keep in mind that not all brands of extracts carry the same concentration. The recommended dosages suggested on Gaia Herbs products are therapeutic dosages and are intended to deliver the therapeutic response. This may not be true for other brands of extracts.
3. How long should I take an herbal extract?
The nature of the condition should determine the length of use of the herbal extract. If the condition is acute or is of a superficial nature, the extract may be used for a shorter period of time such as 1-3 weeks. If the condition is chronic or deeper than it is appropriate to use the extract for 3-4 months or longer. There are always exceptions and it is wise to always follow the recommendations provided on the label. Regardless of how long the extract is used please consider the following rule of thumb: If an extract is to be used for more than one week then take six days on and one day off. If an extract can be used to help support more than six weeks then take six weeks on and one week off with a day off each week. If an extract is to be used for more than six months then take six months on and one month off with a day off each week. The periodic time off from using the herbal extract allows for the full benefit of the herb to be fully integrated into the constitution.
4. How do I recognize the quality and concentration of herbal extracts in the market?
Without standards set by regulatory authorities governing quality and concentration, the quality and concentration of herbal products are really determined by the integrity (or lack of it) of the manufacturing companies. Here are the procedures that Gaia Herbs uses to establish both quality and concentration and disclosure of both: Gaia Herbs Quality:
a. Grows or purchases only certified organic and ecologically, wild-crafted and GMO free herbs
b. Harvests herbs at the peak of their therapeutic activity
c. Measures the bio-activity of every batch of crude herb before it is harvested or purchased
d. Conducts microbial tests on all raw materials purchased
e. Establishes correct methodology of extraction for each herb separately
f. Manufactures under strict GMP compliance guidelines in its state of the art GMP compliant facility
Gaia Herbs Concentration:
a. Gaia Herbs extracts its herbs using herb strength (weight/volume) ratios that are between 1:1 and 1:2. This means that for a 1:1 extract one part of herb is used for every one part of liquid. For a 1:2 extract then one part of herb is used for every 2 parts of liquid. Most companies manufacturing herbal "extracts" are really producing "extracts" using a ratio of 1:4 or 1:5. Obviously these extracts are much more diluted than the extracts that Gaia Herbs manufactures.
b. Gaia Herbs uses state of the art low heat/low vacuum evaporators to concentrate its products.
c. Gaia Herbs measures every batch to ensure concentration levels are achieved.
d. Gaia Herbs guarantees concentration through its "Full Spectrum Process".
Gaia Herbs Full Label Disclosure:
a. Discloses whether herbs are certified organic or ecologically wild-crafted
b. Discloses finished herb strength ratio on label
c. Discloses mg of herbal extract contained in product
d. Discloses concentration of bio-activity as a marker for standardization
e. Discloses amount and nature of solvent remaining in the extract
No other liquid extract company produces to these standards or is able to disclose such complete and accurate information to the consumer on its labels. Gaia Herbs in fact has set a standard for disclosure of information on its labels amongst liquid extract manufacturers within the industry.
5. Why is there alcohol in herbal extracts?
Pure grain alcohol is used to prepare herbal extracts because it functions very well as a solvent and as a preservative. The properties of alcohol enable it to effectively mobilize the constituents that are active in plants from with the plants cell wall and bring them into solution. This is simply a process of pre-digesting the plant. In this way when the extract is ingested there is 100 % absorption and 100 % bioavailability. This is so important especially if one's digestive functions are impaired or one needs a response from the herbal preparation quickly. Liquid herbal extracts work quickly. Because they do not need to move through the first pass of the liver for digestion, they enter the bloodstream immediately and affect their receptor sites within the body within minutes after consumption. Pure grain alcohol also acts as a wonderful preservative. A liquid herbal extract will remain stable for over 5 years while crude herb capsules and tablets tend to degrade very quickly. Effectiveness of herbal tablets and capsules containing dry crude herbs is minimal.
6. How much alcohol am I consuming per dose when I take a liquid extract?
Very little indeed!! If an average dose of an herbal extract is 30-40 drops and the herbal preparation contains 50 % alcohol, then one is consuming 15-20 drops of alcohol with the herbal extractive matter miscible within it. This is simply much less alcohol ingested than if one were to eat a ripened piece of fruit (by virtue of the sugars in fruit that are converted to alcohol when the fruit is consumed). However if one has a background of alcohol sensitivity or cannot consume products with alcohol, then it is recommended that the additive-free liquid extracts prepared from Gaia Herbs or the additive-free liquid extracts in vegetable capsules (Liquid Phyto-Caps) be used that is prepared and patented by Gaia Herbs.
7. Are Gaia Herbs additive-free herbal extracts as concentrated as the alcohol extracts?
Yes!! Gaia Herbs is the only liquid extract manufacturer that can guarantee that its alcohol -free extracts are as concentrated as the alcohol extracts. This is because Gaia Herbs first extracts every herb using the proper alcohol requirement and then utilizes state of the art evaporation equipment to remove the alcohol under low heat and vacuum. After extraction is completed then an HPLC analysis is carried out comparing the alcohol free extract to the alcohol extract. The only exception to this standard of quality is for Milk Thistle and Kava Kava alcohol free extracts. Because these two herbs carry constituents that are highly alcohol soluble it is not possible to achieve the same concentrations in the alcohol free extract as the alcohol extract without having particulates in the solution. To resolve this, a slightly lower concentration can be used to help support these two herbs when they are prepared as alcohol free extracts.
8. Can I combine several extracts or formulas and take them together?
Because herbal preparations have specific constituents that target specific receptor sites within the body, it is important that they be taken thoughtfully. Unless specifically indicated, it is best to take one herbal preparation apart from another by allowing at least twenty minutes to pass. Many herbs do combine well together and in fact are enhanced when combined together. Gaia Herbs Supreme Compounds are scientifically formulated so that the herbs combined together in each formula produce a result that is specific and desirable. It takes much knowledge to properly combine herbal preparations together. When unsure whether two or more single herbs or preparations may be combined together, please refer to the information contained within this book, ask an herbal professional, or space each preparation by at least twenty minutes.
9. Can I use herbal extracts safely during pregnancy?Although there are many herbs that are safe to use during pregnancy, Gaia Herbs recommends on all its labels that the herbs should not be used during pregnancy. We do this because we believe that if you are pregnant and wish to use herbs to maintain a strong and rejuvenatethy pregnancy that you consult a naturopathic doctor, licensed herbalist or licensed holistic health practitioner qualified to guide you in the safe use of herbs during pregnancy.
10. Are there any herb/drug interactions that I should be concerned about when using herbs?
There certainly may be interactions between prescription drugs and herbs. We suggest that if you are currently using a prescription drug that you consult your medical doctor or a naturopathic physician before taking herbs. Throughout history and in cultures all over the world, herbs have been used safely for health. Herbal supplements have produced relatively few incidences of harm when used intelligently and as recommended. Also herbal healths have a long history of producing effective results without the harmful side effects that prescriptive drugs produce. Please consult the information contained within the back of this book for a guide on herb/drug interactions.
11. What is the best way to take liquid herbal extracts?
There are several ways to consume liquid herbal extracts safely and effectively. What follows below is a summary of some of the ways to ingest liquids with the first being the very finest:
a. Add drops to a small amount of warm water.
b. Place drops directly into the mouth or under the tongue.
c. Add drops to a small amount of herbal tea such as peppermint or fennel.
d. Add drops to a small amount of diluted juice such as grape or apple juice.
e. Add drops to a vegetarian '00' capsule and swallow quickly before capsule dissolves with a small amount of warm water.
12. Can children use herbal extracts safely?
Yes! In fact liquids are the preferred method for children to consume health supportives. Gaia Herbs has prepared a line of herbal extracts for children that has been formulated and endorsed by Dr. May Bove, a practicing naturopathic physician specializing in natural children's health care in Brattleboro, VT. Gaia's Children line of extracts is physician approved and clinically tested. They are formulated to address specific aliments that children commonly experience and they taste great! They are not sweetened with sugar like popular children's remedies may be but rather they are formulated with gentle and pleasant tasting herbs that children truly love. To learn more about herbs for children please read "A Parent's Guide to Children's Herbal Care" by Dr. Mary Bove.