How We Source and Produce our Encapsulated Powders
Every Dragon Herbs product is a work of art and science – tempered with love and respect. We spare no effort to produce the finest herbal products in the world.
Each ingredient is very carefully selected. We use only top grade (far above commercial grade) raw materials to make our formulations. Other companies use commodity-grade (or lower) herbs to produce their products. Dragon Herbs does NOT use commercial-grade ingredients. All herbs throughout the world come in a wide range of qualities, and the difference between “top quality” and “commercial-grade (low or “acceptable” quality) is stunning. Our dedication to superior raw material quality separates Dragon Herbs from other brands in America. Top grade herbs cost more, but are many times more potent, more perfectly balanced in their constituent profiles, are generally better tasting, and are always much more effective. Premium grade herbs also tend to be free of side effects that might be associated with lower grades of some herbs. For example, low-grade ginseng can give some people headaches, but high-grade ginseng will not ever cause a headache – low and high-grade herbs have different chemistry. Ron Teeguarden says, “you can’t make gold out of straw,” and the same goes for herbal products.
How We Do It
Great sourcing is essential to producing a great product. All ingredients in this product are Di Tao (from their authentic source as certified by the Chinese Pharmacopeia, the Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, by regional professionals and by historical record), and all are grown without the use of chemicals, away from any source of pollution. We make ourselves aware of the water source for each farm or forest, because only pure water is acceptable for our brand of herbalism. In most cases, our buyers visit the actual farms and growing locations while the herbs are growing or being harvested. All ingredients are selected and inspected by Dragon Herbs’ professional staff prior to extraction. All herbs are organoleptically-reviewed (appearance, shape, smell, freshness, taste, and other details specific to each herb that establish quality) by certified (college-trained in herbal science) herbal experts, observed microscopically, and are laboratory tested to verify their authenticity and purity. If we discover a pollutant, we reject the material.
At our production factory, the raw herbs are washed and strictly prepared by traditional and modern methods to meet pharmacopeia standards. The preparation methods have been developed over thousands of years and have been perfected in the modern era. Each herb is different and requires different preparation.
These preparation standards are quite precise and essential to the ultimate safety and efficacy of the herb.
In many cases the secret to superior efficacy results from the preparation of the material, and Dragon Herbs provides exacting written standards and instructions to our factory crews for each herb. Proper preparation removes toxins and counter-productive constituents, enhances active constituents and improves quality in a substantial way. After any preparation is completed, the herbs are again inspected.
The prepared herbs are extracted in one of Dragon Herbs’ two cutting-edge certified GMP extraction facilities (one in Southern China, the other in Northern China) under highly controlled conditions specific to this formulation and the herbs used. In our multi-herb formulations, all of the herbs are pre-mixed and are cooked together, as is the traditional “best-practice.” In this way, the chemical constituents of the various herbs can interact as they cook together. This process produces additional metabolites and constituents that are essential to the ultimate efficacy of this formulation, as determined over many centuries, and as verified by modern research.
This is one of the great secrets of Chinese herbalism.
Most companies produce each herb separately and then simply combine them to produce formulas. This shortcut reduces efficacy considerably. Again, Ron Teeguarden does not cut corners just to save a dime or to save an hour.
The extraction takes place in sealed stainless steel tanks, over many hours. The extraction fluid is usually purified water, which itself is from a pure source. The “cooking” is done at a moderate temperature, below boiling. Sometimes, a second extraction is done with alcohol to extract some other constituents, and the two fluids are mixed together before condensing. The resulting extracted “super-tea” is very very rich. After the cook-time is over, the “super-tea” is separated from the “mark” (the spent herbs), and finally condensed into a rich “slurry” by evaporating off about half of the liquid. During the entire cooking process, the herbal “soup” produces an awesome aroma, reflecting the fact that essential oils are being evaporated. This is why Dragon Herbs employs closed tanks, so that the aroma cannot escape the tanks. Dragon Herbs’ tanks are fitted with a sophisticated oil trap to capture this evaporated essence, which is largely composed of aromatic oils. This oil is remarkably potent and important to the aroma, taste and, most importantly, to the efficacy of the formula – many of the benefits of the Chinese herbs are the result of these aromatic oils. These oils are carefully mixed back into the slurry at the end of extraction, prior to drying, so that they are incorporated into the final extracted powder. This is a key reason - besides the original quality of the raw herbs – that Dragon Herbs extracts smell so potent, fresh, herbal, and all-around wonderful. Many, if not most, other companies do not use oil traps, and therefore waste the potential of their herbs, as well as your benefits.
The finished slurry is then spray dried, which is a flash-drying technique that is very effective at converting the slurry into a perfectly dry powder and at maintaining all the constituents of the liquid extract. Spray drying requires a small amount of an excipient to work, and Dragon Herbs uses only an absolute minimum of excipient (rice starch). Most companies use a synthetic excipient and most companies use around 50% excipient (which they don’t disclose on their labels) – Dragon Herbs typically uses about 3%.
The resulting powder is inspected organoleptically and in the laboratory, sampled, packed in sterile packaging for shipping, and quickly transported directly to Dragon Herbs in California. The ingredients are subject to a US Customs and FDA review at the port of entry. Our herbal powders are never subject to any kind of spraying, irradiating or gassing at any stage of the processing, and in particular not during transport or at entry to the U.S., even if mandated by U.S. Customs. If that mandate should occur (it never actually happens), we would not accept shipment.
Purity is a fundamental Dragon Herbs requirement.
We subject some shipments to laboratory review to be certain that the materials have not been exposed to gas or irradiation.
When passed and released by all government agencies, the small drums with sealed pouches of powdered herbal extract are delivered to our GMP certified encapsulator/packager in Southern California to be encapsulated. The powdered extracts are blended with no more than 8% - but typically 1- 5% - bamboo, brown rice powder or tapioca powder as an excipient (all of which are grown organically and are non-GMO), so that the powder can flow smoothly through the high-tech high-speed encapsulation equipment, and to maintain a powdered state within the capsule after encapsulation. Dragon Herbs uses PlantCaps® capsules, the world’s most advanced vegan capsule made from pullulan (tapioca). PlantCaps® are a Japanese technology and are much more advanced than typical “veggie caps,” which can be hard to digest. PlantCaps® have been proven to be much more digestible by humans than conventional veggie caps. PlantCaps® are not used by most other dietary supplement and herbal brands because they are more expensive – and they think that their customers will be satisfied with standard “veggie caps.”
But the small additional expense is VERY worthwhile to you, the user, because digestion, assimilation and efficacy are greatly improved when PlantCaps® are employed.
The capsules are packaged (bottled) in translucent bottles to protect against light. Because so little excipient is used in Dragon Herbs products (about 1/10th of that used in most other brands), they need extra moisture absorbing power to protect the fine herbal extract powder inside the capsules. A moisture-absorption packet and cotton are therefore added to protect the integrity of the capsules and their contents.
The finished products are delivered to Dragon Herbs warehouse in Los Angeles, and from there are delivered to our stores and/or to our customers around the world. When the customer opens a fresh bottle of Dragon Herbs capsules, the aroma will be striking. The potency and efficacy reach the highest standard in the world.
Now you know some of the broad “secrets” and techniques Ron and Yanlin Teeguarden and Dragon Herbs employ to produce Dragon Herbs’ extraordinary encapsulated products. Dragon Herbs employs dozens of highly educated, highly-skilled growing, buying and production masters. Their combined years of experience equates to hundreds of years. Both the devils and the angels of herbalism lie in the details of each herb, each formula, and in each stage of production. Dragon Herbs has made thousands of production-runs of herbal products, and that experience and our dedication to perfection are obvious in our final work product.